Don't stand to deliver, says Robbo…

IF the UUP are serious about an electoral pact, they should stand aside in key constituencies, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson warned today.

PA reports:

The East Belfast MP said: “The Ulster Unionist Party`s call for a unionist electoral pact is to some extent a diversion from the real battle for unionists at the next Westminster election.

“The real contest is not between the DUP and the UUP, but between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

“The unpalatable but unmistakable reality, even after the Northern Bank robbery, is that Sinn Fein are set to virtually wipe the SDLP off the electoral map.

“Only the DUP stand in their way of becoming the biggest party in Northern Ireland.”

  • peteb

    Yadda yadda yadda.. I’d be more impressed if the UUP finally put up a candidate in Mid-Ulster.

  • ulsterman

    Just how does Peter Robinson think that SF can become the largest party. It is an impossibility.

    The DUP have six seats at present.They will add E.antrim. that equals seven.

    The UUP have five seats. East Antrim will go to the DUP but they will easily pick up Fermanagh.

    SF will pick up Newry bt loose Fermanagh. 4 seats

    The SDLP will easily hold S.Down and Foyle, two seats.

    God Save The Queen.

  • jonty

    Why do the DUp go on about F&ST , the candidate they backed in 2001 allowed sinn fein to win the seat and now the back another falure, arlene who trailed in 3rd or 4th place in the assembly elections. The Dup cant win this seat.

  • Keith M

    The UUP anmd DUP should concentrate on seats already held by SF/IRA or those which are SF/IRA targets in May.

    For all the difference it will make Diane Dodds should be given a clear run in West Belfast, the same applies in Mid-Ulster. In West Tyrone a UUP candidate should be given a clear field. However I don’t see SF/IRA being beaten in any of these consituencies

    In Souh Down ythere is a very small chance of an agreed Unionist candidate taking the seat if Ruane takes latge portions of McGraddy’s vote. With Nesbitt gone, the DUP’s poll-topper Jim Wells the obvious candidate. I don’t believe anyone can stop SF’s Connor Murphy taking Mallon’s seat in Newry & Armagh, but if the DUP stood aside for someone like Danny Kennedy it might show some goodwill.

    The leaves the thorny issue of Fermanagh-South Tyrone. This is almost certain to be one by an agreed Unionist candidate. The problem is finding the right person. The UUP are like;ly to be upset if Arlene Foster nowe running for the DUP gets in. It would only serve to remind them of how they made the wrong choce of candidate in 2001. More likely would be an anti-agreement UUP person.

    South Belfast should also come into the equasion should Smyth decide to retire. If McGimpsey is given a clear run here, perhaps Foster should get the nod in F/ST. Decisions need to be made quickly and Smyth’s and McCartney’s intentions in North Down are still unknown.

    There are three that matter;

  • PS

    I tend to disagree with the policy of “standing aside” for other parties. If it starts it could well escalate to the point where General elections could, in many constituencies be merely a run off between a Unionist and Nationalist with no choice within the respective communities. If SF and the SDLP were to make a pact to allow the other a free run in North and South Belfast respectively there is an excellent chance of taking two Unionist seats, however i don’t think that is the best interests of either party or the Nationlist people.

    I’d say the DUP’s Arlene Foster will be hugely concerned at Ulsterman’s prediction, while Mark Durkan will no doubt sleep much easier at nights (if he isnt up for 3am feeding) thanks to the confident prediction of this giant of electoral forecast.

  • jonty

    Keith M
    Mcartney will stand in North Down and ill wager hell pick up more votes than Weir

  • davidbrew

    well Keith for a start the DUP has selected William Humphrey in W Belfast.Secondly the only seat that matters is F&ST-the DUP need a free run there as they can win the seat, but they’ll probably never get it such is the hatred of SArlen. But if they don’t get a free run then the UUP can’t expect a free run in S Belfast if they select McGimski, as is planned. The price for the UUP is to lose Fermangh; for the DUP it’s to let McGimski have a free run. Experience shows that the DUP will be prepared to see the bigger picture and the UUP won’t-so Diane Dodds get’s to run in S Belfast

  • jonty

    why wont the DUpes let the UUP run alone in F&st
    They UUP almost beet sinn fein 4 years ago and beat the DUp easlily in 2003

    Time the dup got over its ego

  • Peace and Justice

    In F&ST, Ken Maginnis held the seat from 1983 to 2001 with the help of DUP voters. If Arlene Foster DUP and Tom Elliott UUP both stand, the DUP will get a greater share of the vote but Sinn Fein/IRA will win the seat.

    Mr Maginnis was the man who helped destroy the RUC – read Dean Godson’s book on Trimble “Himself Alone”. The last UUP candidate helped destroy the UUP itself – Mr Cooper.

    Given that DUP votes helped to keep the seat Unionist by voting for the UUP over so many years, it is now time for the UUP to let the DUP be the single Unionist party standing.

  • jonty

    i dont know were peace and justice gets the figures to say that the seat was only held because the DUP have the greater share of the vote.

    The truth is the opposite, the UUP are teh larger party

  • Keith M

    Jonty “i dont know were peace and justice gets the figures to say that the seat was only held because the DUP have the greater share of the vote.” That’s not what was said, read the post again. Maginnis held the seat because the DUP didn’t field a candidate.

    The question as to which is the larger party today in F+ST is highly debatable, given the way that the UUP have been haemorrhaging support over the past 5 years.

  • PS

    I see the DUP are stealing a SF ploy by standing a West Belfast MLA in the south of the city. Is this an admittance that the DUP seat in the West was a once off occurance which is unlikely to repeated when the Sinn Féin vote in the constituency increases on the retirement from political life of Joe Hendron, to ensure that 5 seats will be won at the next assembly election?

    Where do the Dodds’ actually live since between the two of them they have now stood in three different constituencies.

  • davidbrew

    The Dodds lived in Banbridge, and presumably still do so, but at least that’s in the same country, unlike Pat Doherty or Catriona Ruane- who seems to spend most of her time in Columbia!And does Martin live in Mid Ulster?

    As far as F&ST is concerned, the UUP there are particularly stubborn , and probably couldn’t stomach Arlene Foster as MP- after all they couldn’t when she was in their party. If their shortsightedness means no deal in S Belfast either Michael McGimpsey will no doubt cheerfully(?) pay the price.

    It’s always the problem when the smaller Unionist party wants the larger to make sacrifices, only this time its the UUP which is smaller, and there’s no sign that they’ve recognised the new realities.

    The last time there was such an open field was 1983, when the UUP won convincingly, but then they had the heavy hitters and the organisation, and a leader widely respected and trusted. Now they need the deal more deperately than the DUP to avoid being left with 2 or 3 seats at best. The argument about who had the larger share of the vote in a constituency is a red herring.

    And of course the real fear for the UUP is the loss of another swathe of council seats, because that’s where the local worthies lose out. Noone’s going to kick out Trimble if the expected loss of Beggs takes place, but if they were to lose 5 or 6 council seats in Belfast and 2 or three in each other council that would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Anything close to 100 council seats means permanent minority staus.

  • stephen nicholl

    Just a couple of points
    If the DUP were serious about taking on SF the singing Rev would be standing in mid-ulster and the Dup would be asking the uup to step aside. Something I would agree with for that constituency. But he’s not instead he is going for S Antrim so the only message that can be taken is that this is a straight UUP/DUP fight.
    As for South Belfast hopefully Martin is running and therefore the inclusion of S Belfast as a bargaining tool is not an issue.

    As for the council elections the maximum swing either way will be 25 seats with the most likely change around 10 seats.

  • Keith M

    Stephen Nicoll; “If the DUP were serious about taking on SF the singing Rev would be standing in mid-ulster and the Dup would be asking the uup to step aside.” This makes absolutly no sense. Since 1997 the highest combined Unionist vote in Mid-Ulster was 35%. The lowest SF/IRA vote in the same period was 41%. This constituency cannot be won by a unionist candidate without a huge collapse in the SF/IRA vote. McCrea has a much better chance in South Antrim but I still think this is one constituency that is too close to call.

    “As for the council elections the maximum swing either way will be 25 seats with the most likely change around 10 seats.” The swing in 2002 was just over 30 seats, therefore stating that the mnaximum swing now will be only 25 is hard to believe. I would confidently predict the DUP overtake the UUP in council seats (which only requires a swing of about 15 seats) and I think a 30 seat swing isn’t out of the question. More interesting will be to see if SF/IRA overtake the SDLP.

  • davidbrew

    but the UUP are struggling even more than before to get candidates, and the organisation on the ground has collapsed since 2001. The money will be poured into saving Westminster seats as before, meaning little put into preserving the UUP’s greatest asset to date- the stolid, apolitical sheep who sit on local councils and back Trimble without a thought ever entering their minds. Mt guess is closer to 110 than 120.

    Normally I would agree with Stephen that there would be a relatively modest swing but this time I don’t think so. 120 seats for the UUP will be a good result- they’ll certainly fall behind the DUP.