A gang of four?

According to the Irish Times there are now four declared candidates in the ongoing contest for the UUP leadership?.. When did that happen? ANYway.. Ken Maginnis, quoted in the report, is throwing his hat into the ring – “I am up for the leadership. Let me be frank, if I could find somebody that was 20 years younger than I am, who had the same objectives, the same experience, then I would not be up for the leadership.”.. So, if there was a candidate 20 years younger with the same experience Ken would withdraw from the contest? That’s not really very likely is it?Well, according to the Irish Times the other 3 candidates, who are claimed to have already declared their intentions to stand for the position of leader of the UUP are –

Sir Reg Empey and David McNarry and Lord Kilclooney, the former Strangford MP John Taylor… Hmmm.. Has Reg Empey made any public statement on this?

Meanwhile, according to the Irish Times –

Lord Maginnis, the former Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, has declared he will stand for the leadership of his party.

Announcing his intention, he sketched out his manifesto pledging to restructure the party, to listen to grassroots unionists and to build on the leadership of David Trimble by continuing to press for the Belfast Agreement.

He said he would not run if a younger candidate offering the same style of politics decided to run.[emphasis added]

He used the opportunity, talking to ITN, to praise David Trimble.. and to take a couple of swings at the DUP..

He criticised the DUP, branding them inconsistent. “Since November 2003, the DUP have not made a single, solitary change, except that they have weakened the agreement,” he said.

“They used to criticise the people’s forum that we have in Northern Ireland. Now they have actually conceded that we should have an all-Ireland consultative forum. That is something that worries me as a unionist.”

And on what he thinks needs to be done –

“I think I know exactly what needs to be done, and most importantly, I think I know the infrastructure of politics inside out, so that I have an immediate advantage in trying to reform and restructure the party to make it more effective.” He said the next leader should be committed to reaching out to ordinary party members: “That means getting out every weekend, meeting groups, talking to them, finding out what the questions are that were not answered, that caused people not just to vote against us, but not to come out to vote.”[emphasis added]

Ahh.. more consultation…