That old double mandate…

The one candidate, two constituencies argument is one that the UUP have been trying to float for some time now, and it looks like it has found some leverage in the press. Dan McGinn reports on David Burnside’s attack on two of the DUP’s highest profile members – Gregory Campbell and Willie McCrea. The issue is hardly likely to be central in voters minds. But can an MP who is MP and Councillor in two entirely different areas really serve both populations well? With the exception of David Trimble and Burnside himself, the UUP are one of the few parties to actively discourage the double mandate for their MPs and MLAs.

  • Springvale

    Have to disagree Mick – this issue is extremely important for voters.

    There is an obvious conflict of interest and it is hurting the DUP. Look at Sammy’s response to Chris Thornton on UTV – he completely dodged the issue.

    Campbell is hurting on this issue, as is seen by his increasingly irrational and personal attacks on the UUP’s David McClarty.

    Im a voter in East Londonderry and i can say i feel insulted by Gregory’s decision to keep his foot firmly in both areas.

  • fair_deal

    I don’t think it will result in any noticeable electoral harm, it didn’t seem to matter to the electorate last time.

    However, I do personally dislike the practice.

  • Ulster_Scot

    The practice is obviously not ideal, but while I’m firmly a UK wide unionist “being picked up in the press” true, but its only in one paper, read in Scotland.

    Its not an issue on the ground – the people of Limavady, Garvagh and Coleraine are happy to have a working MP after having an absentee UUP one previously. How many advice centres in Coleraine, Limavady, or anywhere apart from his house did he have?

  • Springvale

    Ulster Scot,

    Fair point and thats precisely why Campbell won the seat in 2001 because voters had enough of Ross’s ineffectual and incompetent representation. Nice Bloke but not a great MP.

    However…. As I see it, McClarty has 2 brand spanking new offices in Limivady and Coleraine and is great on the ground.

    Campbell isnt committed to putting East Londonerry first, if he was, he would have resigned from Derry City Council

  • Hansolo

    It is an uncomfortable position to be in. Sammy Wilson admitted last week that he would have to ‘weigh’ up the interests between east antrim and Belfast if put on the spot over an investment initiative.
    Not much use that eh?

  • Nicholas Whyte

    I dislike the double mandate, but I’ve seen little evidence that the same is true of Northern Ireland’s voters!

  • Tiny

    I agree with the comments about being an MP one place and a Councillor somewhere else, ironically Campbell has more political power in Derry than as an MP in East Londonderry

  • Alan2

    The UKIP in England has a candidate standing in 10 constituencies…………….

  • Keith M

    Let me say that I didn’t support the dual mandate, and I was delighted when the government banned TDs from standing for the council elections last year. However I like the present situation even less where TDs nominate their spouses, siblings and offspring to run and then get their machines in action making sure that no worthy new talent comes through to challenge them.

    As for running for councils which are not part of the constituency which MPs represent. This is a red herring. If N.I. had a proper multi-seat PR system then Foyle and East Londonderry would be part of the same constituency and this wouldn’t be an issue.

  • Justice

    Some of the responses to this thread are dripping with hypocrisy. David Burnside is a part-timer using much of his time on his business interests and then he has the adacity to point the finger at others who while he is lining his pockets are serving the community rather than themselves.

  • headmelter

    Megalomaniacs and money grabbers methinks.

  • Dessertspoon

    I don’t think anyone ahould be able to hold more than one elected office at any one time. If you are a councillor/MLA and want to be a MP then you resign from the council/Assembly. I’d also put a stop to the family business of politics. Whilst I appreciate that everyone should have the opportunity to stand for office if they wish you should not be able to be nominated by a member of your family.

  • peter

    I dont think it really matters. MPS here do very little for their constituents. Most of them rarely attend parliament where they are 18/646.

    Paisley,Hume and Taylor were all MEPS and MPS and no one cared.

    This issue is irrelevant.Only goes to show how little the UUP has to say.

  • Dessertspoon

    It’s not irrelevant. I don’t much care what the UUP say or don’t say about it but I (as a voter) consider it an important issue. Not one elected official I have ever spoken to can give me a straight answer on this. To me it smacks of greediness and whether the offices held are in 1 constituency or across 2 there are conflicts of interest and a question mark over how someone can split themselves in 2 or in some cases 3.

  • Keith M

    Dessertspoon : I don’t think anyone ahould be able to hold more than one elected office at any one time.” Does this apply to MPS being MLAs? Do you realise the kind of MLAs you’d get if you excluded the MPS. I can see it now; “First Minister Paul Berry and DFM Catriona Ruane”.

    “Whilst I appreciate that everyone should have the opportunity to stand for office if they wish you should not be able to be nominated by a member of your family.” Nominations have NOTHING to do with it. All you need is to get Joe Bloggs from down the road to nominate, then kick the family election wwagon into gear. Believe me, I’ve seen this first hand in Dublin Corportation.

  • Traditional Unionist

    Actually I think Roy Beggs has it right. If an MP is also a good attender at Council level, it keeps him/her close to the people. Of course the ouncil area would need to be in your Westminster seat, and having three jobs is just unacceptable.

  • peter

    There aint nothing wrong with it. Dual mandates are fine. You have to remember there is a population of 1.5 million here. This is way smaller than some councils in England.

    Also big names get big votes. Why Kilroy Silk will win in Derbyshire.

  • Nicholas

    The one thing I would say is that from the party organisation point of view, it’s a good idea to bring in new blood and not to allow established candidates to ossify. That, I suppose, was the original thinking behind the UUP’s internal ban on the dual mandate from 1921 onwards.

    From the politician’s point of view, it is only a little awkward to represent two different areas; after all, it’s really just like representing one bigger area.

    But I don’t think many voters care.