“we will know relatively quickly whether those with whom we are engaged with are being disingenuous”

UUP leader Reg Empey didn’t take too long to respond to the Newsletter interview in which the party’s only MP, Sylvia Hermon, publicly criticised the party’s Faustian Pact with the PUP. The BBC report his response here. He seems to be adhering to his official line, also promoted in the Belfast Telegraph today, of needing “time and space” to assess his risky move [Leave Reg alone? – Ed] although that doesn’t necesarily square with earlier reports of other approaches. But the claim that he “acknowledged and respected” the UUP MP’s views seems somewhat disingenuous when she was not actually party to the decision to embrace David Ervine. And it’s worth recalling David Ervine’s, stated, “sole reason” for agreeing to the moveI’ll also highlight these lines from the reported statement:

In response, Sir Reg said in a statement on Friday that Lady Hermon’s views were “well-known throughout the party”.

“The problem of loyalist paramilitaries has evolved over 35 years and this exercise cannot be completed in the space of three weeks – there is progress to be made,” he said.

“Having said that, we will know relatively quickly whether those with whom we are engaged with are being disingenuous.

“If they are, then naturally the position will have to be re-assessed and I will not hesitate to do so. This is not an unconditional arrangement.”

, , ,

  • Paul P

    Glug,glug,glug.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    And just how does the Kool-Aid taste, Paul?

  • Harry

    Whilst seeming concerned and critical, Empey’s statement is full of language reinforcing the connection between the UUP and the UVF not decrying it:

    this exercise cannot be completed in the space of three weeks – there is progress to be made,”

    we will know relatively quickly whether those with whom we are engaged with are being disingenuous

  • Don’t be too hard on Reg. After having jumped from the hundredth storey, everything probably looks fine to him now he’s just past the fiftieth.

  • inuit_goddess

    Reg still hasn’t blinked. Still sticking to his course.

    Good guy, rock solid, doing the right thing.

    Why not give him time? He’s put the ball in the paramilitaries court, let’s wait and see if he delivers.

    Reg has been a consistent voice for moderation here for decades, and he deserves for people to give him a chance.

    It’s almost like the DUP *want* him to fail…

  • Pete Baker

    inuit_g

    Read Ervine’s, initially stated, “sole reason” for agreeing the move..

    Now.. what was Reg saying about waiting to see whether those with whom he is engaged with are being disingenuous?

    And that’s before we look more closely at this part of unfolding events

  • BooBoo

    “a consistent voice for moderation here for decades..”

    And what, exactly, do you think the Vanguard Movement was in the early 1970s? Reg was shoulder to shoulder with “we will liquidate the enemy” Bill Craig. He was a central figure in a movement which endorsed paramilitarism and was probably responsible for hundreds of teenagers getting involved in the UDA.

    Reg, like Trimble and Craig and so many others of that generation, didn’t have the bottle to join the RUC Reserve or the UDR.

    He has done the wrong thing this time. The UVF will need political and economic carrots to induce them to decommission and wind down. The UUP is not in a position to deliver those carrots. He was badly advised and doesn’t have the wit to get out while he still has time.

    As for Lady Hermon, I suspect she is on her way to “independent” status. As for the UUP, it is so far down the slide there is no way of stopping.

    BooBoo

  • BooBoo

    “As for Lady Hermon, I suspect she is on her way to “independent” status”

    or, true to her Blairite wannabe status, the Labour whip.

  • slug