“That would be ludicrous.”

Still waiting forTranscript available[permanent link], but the BBC report that the UUP’s only MP, Sylvia Hermon, has stated in the Commons that she was not party to the decision to approach the UVF-linked PUP leader, and MLA, David Ervine to join the UUP in the Ulster Unionist Assembly Group, which caused her “great distress” according to the report. She seems to have given the move her qualified support though.. Apparently ignoring the Secretary of State’s reminder that the UVF are “still involved in criminality in a big way”. Mind you, he forgot about his appointing of the Chair of the PUP to the Policing Board.. Updated Hansard quote below.One quote I have seen from Sylvia Hermon in the debate –

“If Sir Reg is able to establish now a policy to bring about loyalist decommissioning and prevent any more murders… that would be worthwhile.[Update] Apart from that I am deeply distressed by the decision of my party colleagues.”

Meanwhile, the PUP’s David Ervine is denying that he had been offered any inducements to join the new Assembly Group

Mr Ervine said: “I have not been promised anything.

“One fool described me as a fool for not demanding to be a minister.

“That would be ludicrous.

“I have no intention, nor has anybody any intentions, of allowing me to be a minister in the Northern Ireland Executive.”

Arguably, though, being accepted within that Assembly Group was, in itself, an inducement to the PUP.

Update Added to the quote from UUP MP Sylvia Hermon More Full quote by Sylvia Hermon MP –

Lady Hermon: That is enormously kind and generous of the hon. Gentleman. He and his colleagues will know that I do not, unlike them, hold a dual mandate. I am not a Member of the Assembly, but only of this House. I was not a party to the decision taken by my fellow colleagues in the Assembly. That decision caused me deep distress. However, having said that, I believe, having had a long conversation last night with my party leader, Sir Reg Empey, that this might allow him an opportunity to exercise leverage on loyalist paramilitaries. It was perfectly obvious that the Northern Ireland Office has no strategy to bring about loyalist decommissioning. If Sir Reg is able to establish now a policy to bring about loyalist decommissioning and prevent any more murders, such as that of Lisa Dorrian in my constituency, that would be worth while. Apart from that, I am deeply distressed by the decision of my party colleagues.

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  • seabhac siulach

    “Arguably, though, being accepted within that Assembly Group was, in itself, an inducement to the PUP.”

    Quite so, and a nice inducement it was. Now there is no political leverage or pressure that can be exerted on the PUP for the UVF to decommission…they are already represented snugly within the political process without needing to compromise one iota. Nice. Now what is there to bargain with ‘to bring about loyalist decommissioning and prevent any more murders’ as Ms. Hermon put it. Talk about slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted. The UUP would have been better advised to call for UVF decommissioning in advance of approaching Ervine…now there is no incentive whatsoever on the UVF to cease doing what they are doing…are we to see some examples of this on the streets this summer?

  • IJP

    Would this be the same ‘leverage’ that enabled the Ulster Unionist leadership to secure decommissioning from another Loyalist group on the back of a similar link-up in Belfast City Hall?

    Ah… that hasn’t actually happened either…

    Sylvia’s not stupid enough to buy any of that. Nor is the North Down electorate…

  • Ian

    At the end of the BBC report, it’s still saying:

    “Assembly speaker Eileen Bell has been asked by Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists to check the legality of the move.”

    Has she not ruled on that point yet, then?

  • Loyalist


    Given her donating money to IMPACT, she’s not totally consistent is she now?

  • If Ervine’s inclusion helps put presssure on UUP/UVF to cease and desist from criminality, all to the good. If they take one meaningless bauble from Sinn Fein/SFIRA, UUP/UVF to cease and desist from criminality, all to the good. Talk about petty stakes.

    The BIG QUESTION we should be asking is why Slugger is not convering the Da Vinci Code. More Papish favouritism.

    Plus Sylvia’s husband was no angel. He was the head of a very sinister cowboy outfit too so waht is wrong with her?

  • Fuinseoige

    Does this astonishing move by Reg Empey mean that the UUP will be held acountable for and asked henceforth to explain the next murder or other criminal act carried out by their bedmates in the UVF?

  • páid

    well I think that Reg Empey, Sylvia Hermon and David Ervine should be given a bit of room to operate in. They don’t strike me as evil hypocrites, and I can’t even conceive of them as bedmates!

  • Henry94

    The BIG QUESTION we should be asking is why Slugger is not convering the Da Vinci Code. More Papish favouritism.

    The reviews are in.

    “A stodgy, grim thing”–Variety

    “Perhaps the best thing the project’s critics could have hoped for”–Variety

    “Exceedingly literal-minded”–Variety

    “Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama”–Variety

    “An oppressively talky film”–Variety

    “It is impossible to believe that, had the novel never existed, such a script would ever have been considered by a Hollywood studio”–Variety

    “The irony in the film’s inadequacy is that the novel was widely found to be so cinematic”–Variety

    “What went down easily on the page becomes laborious onscreen”–Variety

    “High-minded lurid material sucked dry by a desperately solemn approach”–Variety

    “A palpable lack of chemistry between Hanks and Tautou”–Variety

    “Howard . . . makes them both look stiff, pasty and inexpressive”–Variety

    “A film so overloaded with plot that there’s no room for anything else, from emotion to stylistic grace notes”–Variety

    “Hans Zimmer’s ever-present score is dramatic to the point of over-insistence”–Variety

    “Missed opportunities”–Variety

    “The final dramatic revelations . . . come off as particularly flat”–Variety

  • smirkyspice

    not much variety there

  • I’ve asked a few questions over on my own blog that from this evidence even the party’s only MP can’t answer.

  • missfitz

    Hate to take the feminist line on this, but I really think that the fact Lady Penelope was sidelined is a big issue.

    You just know that if the only UUP MP was a man, he would certainly know what was going on with the puppies.

    I think that this really diminishes her standing in the party and shows that she is just for decoration

  • Pete Baker

    I think you’re right on that point, missfitz.. Sylvia Hermon placed particular emphasis on fellow in the “I was not a party to the decision taken by my fellow colleagues in the Assembly” line.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I think the decision by the Speaker on the legality of the UUP/PUP alliance will be made public on Monday.

  • Bob Wilson

    I’m not a lawyer but hasnt the United Unionist Assembly Group – Agnew, Douglas and Watson -set the precedence in the last Assembly? All elected as indepedants but recognised as a group.

  • Pete Baker

    Not quite, Bob.

    As independents they would have had no other party constitution that they were required to follow.

  • missfitz

    There’s no chance she would defect to Alliance is there? I dont know enough of her history with the UUP to be able to make a judgement on it?

    And, btw, I used to work from home until recently, and everyone was dead jealous of the fact I went to work in a black silk dressing gown Pete, so dont let the begrudgers get you down.

  • Madam Chairman: Fellow is often used to include feamle fellows, many of whom,m like Syliva’s mother, are jolly Good Fellas and may even be felows of learned societies. So getting confused over the sexist nature of Bearla doen’t help in regard to this storm in a tea cup.

  • missfitz

    Storm in a teacup my arse.

    The ONLY MP of this party is not let into negotiations that alter the complexity of the party and its affiliations?

    Come on taigs, minimising this issue only serves to enhance the idea that as a woman she wasnt worth consulting and that is not a worthy notion.

    My (fragile) opinion of the UUP is diminishing by the minute.

    IJP, swoop….swoop….. she would make a great catch

  • Pete Baker

    I would doubt it, missfitz.. although I’m wouldn’t claim to know her personal political outlook. More likely an independent unionist if it came to it, im[very]ho.

    btw.. pajamas may have been a slight embellishment – but it sounds better than t-shirt and shorts..

  • missfitz

    Was it Ronnie Drew or Brendan Behan who used to work in what he called the “Jeyes Fluid”? I love that phrase,

    Ah no Jaysus missus I cant come out, I’m in me Jeyeses fluid

    Now THAT sounds better than t-shirt and shorts

  • Pete Baker

    Gotta be Behan.. gotta be, surely? 🙂

  • missfitz

    Yeah, do you know the story of him going over O’Connell bridge one Sunday afternoon? A well known female ornithologist was passing by on the other side. She was a very respectable woman, D4 no doubt, and was with her very respectable surgeon husband. Behan spotted her, and remembered she had written an article about blue tits in the Times the previous week.

    He roared across the road…. ‘Hey Missis, howarya doing, and how the fuck are your tits?’

  • Pete Baker


  • IJP


    She would make a great catch

    She’s married and a bit old for me, to be fair. 🙂

    Seriously, you make a very legitimate point that this was an all-men decision, it appears.

  • missfitz

    Ach IJP, thats me out of the frame for you then? I am inconsolable……

    Well, she was always going to be tenuous in the party, and I imagine it really galled the UUP to the core that the best they could do in Westminster was a :::WOMAN::: horror!!

    I am only guessing here, but if this level of decision making was occurring without any level of knowledge, it indicates a real freezing out of the Lady, and a complete sidelining of her in the decision making process of the party.

    As I said, I cannot imagine it would have happened had she been a man, so this shows the UUP in quite a desperate light. To me, it would indicate a frenzied desperation and a refusal to consult with their MP in case she dissented.

    While I think the SDLP have room for recovery in the next election, I think the UUP may be finally singing their swan song

  • Ian

    It’s bad enough that the UUP are now at the mercy of what the UVF might do. But it gets worse. Due to the macho rivalry between the UVF and the UDA (recent UVF statement claimed that “we were the first [paramilitary group] onto the scene and we’ll be the last to leave it), the UUP’s future is also dependent on what the likes of the Shoukri clowns might get up to.

  • missfitz

    Sir Reg sounded distinctly uncomfortable on Good Morning Ulster, indeed he raised his voice uncharacteristically at Seamas at one point in the conversation.

    He had no real answer about not having informed the party MP, except that she hadnt attended an MLA meeting, and these things can be last minute decisions!

    Go figure

  • Rubicon

    I’d not write-off the existence of sexism among UUP MLAs – it most certainly is there. I’m not sure it was the reason behind not including Sylvia in the consultation since it would appear that UUP peers in the Lords weren’t consulted either (http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the_beginning_of_the_end/).

    It seems clear that Reg ignored what was happening in Westminster.

    There was no reason for the UUP to form a “group” with the PUP at this time. If the motive was to put pressure on the UVF to cease its armed campaign by tempting them with improved representation in the political process (as Reg has again claimed this morning) then it was senseless to make the deal now.

    If Reg was pressured by the media as to the TIMING of his decision we’d be closer to learning the truth; a cack-handed attempt to gain power (without gaining it), done for the wrong reasons, done in the wrong way and at the wrong time.

  • missfitz

    Agreeing with Rubicon..

    One of the things Sir Reg said sounded like a fit of pique:

    Something along the lines of “John Hume did it and got a medal”

    Is there a little tiny bit of naievity here?

  • Curtis

    “You just know that if the only UUP MP was a man, he would certainly know what was going on with the puppies. ”

    What a load of balls, Lady Hermon was perfectly well aware of what was going on, she is very close to Alan McFarland and talks regularly to Reg. She is also invited to all assembly group meetings but often cannot attend due to her commitments in Westminster precisely because she IS the only MP. I can guarentee that she was informed along every step of the way.

  • Curtis

    As for IJP, he put out a simpering press release trying to recruit young unionists to his Young Alliance group of him, himself and he. A typically pathetic Alliance ploy to get more members and maybe even become a significant party on day. The day Lady Hermon will take electoral advise from the man who barely only scrapped into the council with around 300 votes will be a sad day.

  • elfinto

    There used to be a couple of Young Alliance members in the school I went to. When the Conservatives set up in Norn Iron they all joined the Tories.

  • uuper

    Oh, Cllr Parsley put out a press release calling on YU’s to join the Alliance did he?

    Two questions:

    1) How many have joined?
    2) Are these actions supported by his employers, who I gather are the Northern Ireland Manufacturing Focus Group?

  • observer

    Surely IJP is entitled to call on people to join his Party just as any member from another party can do. What exactly is so wrong with that? He may be making some capital from another party’s discomfort, but that’s just politics.

    There probably will never be huge numbers who leave the YUs – but that’s because they aren’t too numerous to start with.

    Also, why on earth should it matter who his employers are? A person is perfectly entitled to hold political beliefs without that interfering with their job.

    However, I feel the trap you are falling into is believing that the NIMFG = Basil ‘the officer’ McCrea. I would imagine that the NIMCG are utterly disinterested in either the fate of the YUs or the YA – or at least they should be unless you are suggesting that Basil is manipulating that organisation for his own political ends.

  • Curtis

    “There probably will never be huge numbers who leave the YUs – but that’s because they aren’t too numerous to start with. ”

    Alot more of them than young alliance, mr parsley also appears to have put the press release out at 1am on saturday, seems a little dodgy. Also, I don’t think young alliance are even an organisation, its only member appears to be parsley. Fairly sad.

  • Tony Clifton

    Pete Baker

    Party Constitutions will have no bearing on Eileen Bells decision, they have nothing to do with Assembly rules, what the UUP/PUP has done is watertight as far as the assembly goes, internal debate the UUP may have, but Eileen Bell will not be able to rule against their ‘coalition’ unless she is forced to from on high. Assembly staff right to the very top are completely confident in what they have seen so it would have to come from much higher than that.