UUP’s link to PUP against rules…

THE UUP/PUP link is against the rules of the Assembly, Speaker Eileen Bell has ruled.

  • smcgiff

    Reg Empey’s bribe not to show a pic of Eileen Bell in a frilly frock has paid off. This is exactly what Reg needed to back track with SOME dignity.

  • Keith M

    I’d take a different stance from Sean and say that Empey has now been shown to be discreditted by trying to break the rules. Either way, as the only thing of significance that he’s done, he should now step aside.

  • heres hoping

    sinn fein now gets its three ministries if we ever get an executive.now were does this sir reg he has had six months flax and ridicule for what. hunger for power has left him looking very foolish bad start to his leadership. is this a resigning matter for reg.

  • Tony Clifton

    I think this was a bad and suspect decision. Eileen Bell as speaker of the ‘Hain Assembly’ does not have the power to call a meeting of the assembly, but somehow has the jurisdiction to make a decision ‘for the future’. It is a strange set of affairs altogether.

    In practice, it doesnt really make any difference, it just gives the DUP what they want in the short term.

    Basically the ruling means that at this time the UUP/PUP ‘alliance’ doesnt meet the definitions of a political party, however all of the criteria are meetable by the UUP/PUP should they wish to meet them. (Have an office, have a constitution, have a treasurer- not difficult)

    This ‘alliance’ would have had no impact until the restoration and since this would bring with it the requirment to redisignate the ruling has no immediate impact.

    The DUP didnt gloat in the chamber, infact robinson made an attempt to clarify the rules ‘should the party in question OR ANYOTHER try this again’ The DUP are obviously going to try to get Berry back on board.

    However, they will need two new members (Berry + 1) assuming that the UUP/PUP decide to meet the new criteria.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    To be honest, all Reg did was see a way to finesse the rules — not breaking them, per se, but manipulating them to “his” own advantage. If anything, Reg is guilty of excessive enthusiasm — one needs an executive before sneaky moves to manipulate who has what power in said executive have any utility.

  • Tony Clifton

    Ding Ding Round Two 🙂

  • Tony Clifton

    You are right Dread, Reg couldnt have broken the rules, as they were not yet written/interpreted. It was an attempt to try something new, if failed, in my view due to a political decision, regardless with this new definition (wether you recognise it as legitimate or not) it would ot be difficult to try again and succeed.

  • heres hoping

    dc and tc i dont think this is a case of broken rules or cute hoor politics its a case of a political misjudgement which has backfired. most of the opposition to the original move has come from uu members and supporters who have been arguing that this unholy alliance has lost the uu much credibility and they will now say for what. its in this context that i would suggest that sir reg is deeply wounded as a credible political leader and the question i ask of uu supporters and members should he stay or should he go.

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘Have an office, have a constitution, have a treasurer- not difficult’
    You reckon sounds like a merger to me.

    Reg revealed as politcal pygmy!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    HH — I think I was discussing something different from what you are — you are looking at the effect / outcome… I (and, subsequently, Tony) were kicking around the cause / rationale for the event.

    Same elephant, different parts.

  • Wee Ulsterman

    The decision is pure politics. The NIO & Speaker are just making the rules up as they go along.

    Any progressive moves from within unionism or loyalism must be crushed, so that the mandarins can clear the way for their envisaged decades of DUP-Sinn Fein rule.

    It’s just pathetic.

    Reg should give this the contempt it deserves, and continue with his work to move loyalism forward towards peace and make sure loyalists get a fair share of power.

    It’s not like the DUP are going to do anything for us – Robinson was delighted at today’s result, another cabinet seat for Sinn Fein, what does he care? He’s only interested in shafting his fellow unionists for the sake of power.

  • pith

    Wee Ulsterman: “Reg should give this the contempt it deserves, and continue with his work to move loyalism forward towards peace and make sure loyalists get a fair share of power.”

    What would their fair share of power be?

  • Hidden Gem

    For too long now, Unionist parties have been reluctant to face up to loyalist violence; their silence towards the UVF which is still refusing to do anything to end its activity or decommission its weaponry is just one example. In the North we are no strangers to stalemate situations and I think Reg Empey was, quite sensibly, trying to emulate what John Hulme did with the Provos, though for him, there was no party political advantage in his motivation. There was a social, political and ideological stalemate and I salute JH for finding a way forward from that dire situation.

    Now granted, there was a party political advantage for Reg but I don’t believe this was the main motivating factor. Sure, he saw an opportunity for his party and he took it. After all, he’s a politician so why wouldn’t he? But there’s a bigger picture and I think Reg could see it. So it didn’t work out but, for Reg, it wasn’t for the want of trying. My hope now is that other opportunities are seized when they come along…, and they will come along but before Nov 24? Reg’s efforts have been hampered and I doubt there is any other party in Unionism that is prepared to take up the reins.. ( or should that be “reigns.” ?)

  • puzzlement

    Fundamentally decent politician does fundamentally decent thing to try to break stalemate and move loyalism forward.

    Result: He gets knocked down by the powers-that-be.

    Peter Robinson should be ashemed to call himself a Unionist. He’s been a total disgrace, he’s just handed Sinn Fein an extra ministry, gift-wrapped on a plate.

    He’ll have some explaining to do round here come the next election. People aren’t going to forget this in a hurry.

  • unionist

    I fully agree with Puzzlement.

    The DUP are a disgrace. Their fellow Unionists try to take a seat off IRA/Sinn Fein and take it as their own.

    A by-product of the deal is the chance to bring the UVF back into the fold, a chance to improve things in Loyalist areas….

    Everyone’s a winner…right?

    Not if the DUP have anything to do with it. They are simply trying to destroy the UUP, at the expense of unionism as a whole.


  • tiny

    proves what most people have known all along, when it comes to political emnity the UUP are higher up the DUP’s list than Sinn Fein!

  • gareth mccord

    people like you are “disgusting”!
    are the ira targeting protestants killing them, threatening them, evicting them, drug dealing to them, extorting from them etc etc .NO who is? YES THATS RIGHT THE UVF/PUP. so what should a true unionist do ignore, deny, make excuses. what exactly do people like you think the uvf/pup do for the protestant people. as for an extra seat for ira/s.f. wise up and realise would s.f./ira even be allowed in any stormont seat if the i.r.a. were actively targeting, killing, threatening, halve as much as the uvf/pup?NO WAY! or maybe you dont believe, deny, or simply dont care about the uvf action as long as s.f./ira loose a seat(MAYBE)! WITH UNIONISTS LIKE YOU WHO NEEDS ENEMIES!

  • David

    This is not an unsurprising decision. The government is in the process of giving the DUP all it wishes………..it will not work. The government just do not understand that the DUP was born to oppose change/progress and that is what it shall do. That is not a condemnation of the DUP. I admire their honesty in that they tell us they will oppose and then they do it. What I find amazing is that the government deludes iself into believing they can change the DUP’s mind. A leopard and spots etc.
    By bringing the UUP and PUP into a relationship Reg and Davy at last began to address two issues:
    1. The transformation of Loyalism.
    2. How to bring those who favour change under one umbrella.
    That is now gone.
    Does the government still support this Agreement? After all Eileen Bell hardly has the brain to make decisions like this.

  • BooBoo

    Some of you are missing the point here.

    There would have been no internal objection had Reg persuaded Mark Robinson, Alex Easton or Seamus Close to abandon their respective parties and join the UUP. But all three turned down the offers.

    Ervine was a last resort and a pact with him involved the creation of a new Assembly party—the UUPAG. But that, in turn, involved a UUP-PUP-UVF connection; and it was that direct linkage between the UUP and the UVF which caused a genuine problem for some people in the UUP.

    Of course the DUP is being thoroughly hypocritical about the whole business—but waht else would you expect the DUP to be? Trying to shift the blame to them is an absurd and ill-judged response to the Speaker’s ruling.

    And it doesn’t mean that SF have automatically been handed an extra seat “on a plate.” There are other options which the UUP could return to.

    Personally, I don’t believe that d’Hondt will be triggered before November 24, anyway, so this debate is somewhat academic. But as it stands (and it stood this way on May 11th—four clear days before Reg signed up Ervine) the numbers game for d’Hondt will be triggered on a headcount 24 hours before nominations. And, as I say, the UUP has other options.

    As ever, though, the party leadership will apportion the blame to others and refuse to acknowledge an error or misjudgement. And the failure to do so is the real problem underlying all of this—exactly the same sort of head-in-the-sand posture which was the hallmark of most of the Trimble era.

    There are lessons to be learned here; but I doubt if anyone in Cunningham House will look or learn.

    Another bad and oddly sad day for the UUP. Four months of pain for absolutely nothing.


  • unionists

    Gareth McCord – who are you? A local brainwashed DUP young pup – willing to believe everything your party tells you??

    I dunno if the DUP have brainwashed your memory or whatever..but let me refresh it:

    – Peter Robinson used to have local UVF men guarding his house.
    – Various DUP members enjoy sharing platforms with the most evil loyalist terrorist…king rat.
    – Peter Robinson enjoys standing on hillsides wearing berets..
    – The DUP have done plenty to encourage loyalist paramilitaries.
    – The DUP are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to this issue.

    So don’t get on your high horse over the issue.

    The DUP refuse to progress. Now its going to cost the whole country. Schools, water rates etc…nice

  • joe soap

    wee ulsterman –
    Reg should give this the contempt it deserves, and continue with his work to move loyalism forward towards peace and make sure loyalists get a fair share of power.

    what a load of tripe – loyallists voted and it wasnt for the PUP or UUP, it was for the DUP

  • pith

    How does the DUP being hypocritical make the UUP right?

  • BooBoo

    Re post 20:

    Many of the accusations levelled at Peter Robinson in particular and the DUP in general could easily be levelled at UUP figures (including those with Vanguard connections) and the party’s response during the UWC strike and the protests over the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    Unionism has to move beyond the tit-for-tat exchanges between the staffers in their respectives headquarters.

    As for your comment: “A local brainwashed DUP young pup—willing to believe everything your party tells you.” Kettle, Pot and Black spring to mind.

    The DUP did not place the UUP in its present mess. All Robinson did was to ask the Speaker to rule on the pact. Had it been upheld today, it would have allowed the DUP to bring Bob McCartney and Paul Berry on board for the purposes of d’Hondt at a later stage—without the need for either of them to have joined the DUP. It would also have opened the way for the DUP to pinch a couple of UUP MLAs (and, believe me, there are at least two who could be persuaded)

    The UUP was let down again on legal advice—as it has been on three previous occasions in the last five years. Had the Speaker upheld the pact, it would also have forced the UUP to call a meeting of its UUC to ratify the UUPAG; for the UUP constitution doesn’t make provision for such an inter-party arrangement.

    There were so many other ways the UUP could have handled this matter, but it chose the most reckless option.



    I have been critical of the UUP/PUP pact since the beginning, but the rank hypocrisy being shown by Bell is pretty low.

    Seems it is OK for Eilleen Bell to redesignate herself Unionist when the occasion suits, but ban two Unionist parties from working together?

  • David

    Post 24. You got that one spot on. It is one rule for the Alliance and one rule for the rest.

  • All Robinson did was to ask the Speaker to rule on the pact.

    Why though?

    ….Simply to get one over the Ulster Unionist (<-- someone should remind the Robocop!) Party

  • IJP

    Stop trying to deflect attention from your own party’s grubby links to paramilitarism (which remain in Belfast City Council).

    The Speaker’s ruling has nothing to do with party politics.

    Purely party-politically, I’d have preferred the ruling to go the other way.

    Time for Unionism to stop trying to blame everyone else and come to grips with their own basic failures to stand up for the rule of law – failures that go back far more than six months.

  • Billy


    The first 4 things in unionist’s list (post 20) are facts – not allegations.

    The 5th one is an opinion but one I think many people in NI would agree with.

  • gareth mccord

    i take it you could not answer my questions because your still in davy “denial ervine mode!
    as for me being a dup pup wise up you muppet!
    the dup have ignored the uvf/pup activities just as much as all UNIONISTS! but dont cry about the dup hypocrites as the uvf/pup are active now targeting now drug dealing now etc etc. OR HAVE YOU FORGOT ABOUT THAT?
    what is more important, water rates , schools health, etc etc or let murderers, drug dealers gangsters, in power? BUT PEOPLE LIKE YOU DONT CARE AT WHATEVER COST AND WHOEVER BY AS LONG AS THE BAD GUYS ARE KEPT A PIECE OF THE CAKE!

  • unionist

    Gareth Mccord – what are you on about?



    Id rather the UUP had an extra ministerial seat, not the IRA.

    Do you not agree with that? In fact, does anyone disagree with me?

    Ignoring loyalists won’t improve the drug dealing, or any of their other criminal activites. The only way to address these issues is to confront them head on. The PUP pack was a way of doing this. Now, Im under no illusions, I realise the primary reason for the UUPAG was to deny the IRA a ministry. But I also saw it as a great opportunity to solve the loyalist issue.

    This is why I am angry at the DUP. They are vey short sighted and focused not on Sinn Fein, but on the UUP.

  • Patrique

    I keep telling you the whole plan is that the DUP and Sinn Fein share power, and that plan has been in place for about 16 years. This totally nonsense ruling makes them stronger, and could put Stormont back in November.

    The DUP are aware that they could share power in a United Ireland with Fianna Fail, and really screw Sinn Fein, but their voters may not be enlightened enough to see that.

    The UDP and PUP deserved as many votes as possible to help with the Peace Process, as these were the parties speaking for Loyalist gunmen. The DUP merely mislead supporters of Loyalist gunmen.

  • Patrique

    And by the way, there are no drug dealers anymore because there is no blow anywhere. I suppose crime will drop overnight, although I will not hold my breath.

  • eddie


    Finally an admission from the UUP press office what the real reason for going into the pact was, and not to end loyalist violence, it just happened to be a neat excuse once the proverbial shit started to hit the fan.

    BTW it is not the DUP who are destroying the UUP, they are doing it themselves and it will be the electorate who will finish the job in the not too distant future.

  • neill armstrong

    A good news story at last,it was a disgrace that we were even considering having anything to do with the pup,but to go even beyond that was political stupidity which i fear will rebound on us very badly in the very near future.

  • joe mangel

    Hats off to UUP councillor Neill Armstrong for again denouncing the pact with paramilitaries. I’ve had issues with him in the past, but good to see there is some sense in him!

    Before Stormont is back up and running there will be the need for fresh elections, so this extra Sinn Fein/IRA ministry becomes non-existant. Peter Hain has also said that if the November deadline is not met – and that scenario is looking increasingly likely – then he will himself cut the number of NIO departments, therefore, again, removing this extra ministry business. This, of course, avoids the fact that thanks to the DUP, the Ministers will now be accountable, and so it doesn’t matter as much as it did before who actually owns the seat.

    If the UUP’s main reason for the PUP link was to try and bring loyalists into the cold, then why did they first ask Paul Berry, Mark Robinson et all? If it was for the extra hypothetical Ministerial position, surely it’s hypocriscy to take away a position from one group linked to terrorists, and give it to another? What happened to the 1999 slogan of ‘No guns, No government’? Or does that only count for republican guns?

    I think Councillor Empey will look back at this day and be thankful for the Speaker’s decision, because – although he may not be able to see the bigger picture – it has let him off the hook.

  • Nationalist

    What would be the reaction if the SDLP decide to put a few MLA’s into the Sinn Fein camp in order to try and entice a more sympathetic response from them towards the PSNI etc. and at the same time ensure that the Nationalist community were to gain an extra seat at the round table?

    Does anyone know what the effect of 1, 2 or 4 SDLP members joining forces with Sinn Fein would have, could the SDLP afford to give up any number of MLA’s without losing their own quota of seats at the table in order to gain an advantage for Nationalism?

    Would the Ulster Unionists see this as fair or does the rules not allow for anyone else to adopt their tatics and form alliances?

    Any thoughts out there?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Regardless of what Eileen Bell decided for the UUP to have links with this organisation was unacceptable.

    As David Ervine so elequently put he is a ‘scum bag’ and I agree with him. He has no regrets about his activities in the past and the UUP should have no direct links to him whether or not he is involved with the UVF.

    We all know about the DUP’s links in the past but that is no excuse for the UUP’s actions now nowhere in any manifesto did it mention creating links to the UVF and I didn’t vote for it.

    Reg may be a ‘nice guy’ but his time as leader is past its ‘sell’ by date. The UUP must find a leader who has something to say and do or join with the Tories.

  • neill armstrong

    Thanks Joe I think!

  • POL

    You`re right nationalist if this had been on the other side of the political divide an entirely different argument would be going on, with all sorts of pan nationalist front theories being aired.

  • pith

    That’s the point isn’t it? When it was going on on the other side e.g. the Hume-Adams talks, there was condemnation from the UUP.

  • sheesh


    “Ignoring loyalists won’t improve the drug dealing, or any of their other criminal activites.”

    But turning a blind eye to all this, promising to hand offer the community sector to them so every corrupt scumbag with the title ‘commander’ gets a job they are not qualified for and public money to play with is an improvement? The Renewing Communities stuff the DUP negotiated is far from perfect but at least its primary focus is to benefit Loyalist areas not individual Loyalists. The majority of the Unionist working class don’t want to live under continuing paramilitary rule whether that is in an Executive or in their own streets.

  • Bushmills

    My, my, my the CunningPlan House typing pool is out in force today.

    Face facts boys (and girl):

    1. The PUP pact was morally indefensible – after banging on for years about the need for decomissioning (remember: “no guns, no government”?), the UUP threw their lot in with the political representatives of the violent thugs and murderers of the UVF.

    2. This decision could almost have been palmed off if we had seen quick movement towards decomissioning by the UV’s. Instead what we got was a murder attempt in one place, and a man nearly cut into two pieces in another (Bangor). The UVF also stated that it would not be decomissioning anytime soon.

    3. This grubby pact was not, NOT, NOT about “bringing Loyalists in from the cold” a la John Hume. It was about Reg getting his grubby mits on a third ministry. The moving communities forward kack only emerged after the public back-lash.

    4. If there is an agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein, there will undoubtedly be fresh elections to Stormont. An executive will not be formed before that time. Therefore pissing around with the Stormont arithmatic was a total waste of time.

    5. This was the one significant announcement made by Empey during his period at the helm of the UUP. He allowed himself to be manouvered into it by the Belfast clique – Copeland, Cobain, McGimpsey who have had no probs whatsoever dealing with the paramilitaries down through the years, and it has exploded spectacularly in his face.

    6. The credibility of the UUP in general and Reg Empey in particular have taken a terrible hammering because of this unnecessary, unjustified and illogical move.

    Therefore Empey can be viewed now as a busted flush. His leadership is holed below the waterline and he looks like a complete and utter fool. Squealing from Cunningham House about Robbo and his red beret will do nothing to change that.

    My only regret about this farce is that Peter whashisface isn’t still in the UU’s to launch a stalking-horse leadership bid – he’s clearly the only one with any guts whatsoever involved in this sorry saga.

  • darth rumsfeld

    unionist =alex =benjamin? ( McGimpsey-like cadavre and UUP spin-doctor). Please explain this to me.

    You say it’s good to get another UUP minister, as opposed to a Shinner, as if the allocation of another personal fiefdom to a UUP duffer will advance Unionism (remember Sam Foster, who saved us from Dublin rule?)

    Yet, the DUP’s attempts to change the Agreement to make Ministers accountable to the assembly – and thus to rewrite a core part of the Agreement- have been consistently sneered at by the UUP.

    So- you’d rather have up to five autocratic SDLP and Shinners running unaccountable departments than (possibly) six having the possibility of veto from their ministerial colleagues or MLAs as a whole.

    The main aim of the UUP isn’t to prevent another McGuinness-style abolition of the 11 plus, or a De Brun allocation of maternity services to the RVH. No, the focus of the UUP in 2006 has been to grub around for an extra ministerial car for Alan McFarland/McGimpsey/Nesbitt to keep the various potential leadership challengers sweet for a few more months. And they couldn’t even get that right!

  • alex benjamin

    darth, ‘unionist’ is genuinely not me.

  • darth rumsfeld

    thanks alex- please can we have another insider’s account of the last election, please? Funniest book I’ve read in ages

  • alex benjamin

    apologise for the cadaver comment then i’ll think about it…

  • pith

    darth rumsfeld,

    “Funniest book I’ve read in ages”

    Really? Have you read any since?

  • darth rumsfeld

    ok alex- sorry- but do get out and get some sun- write your expose on the beach

  • alex benjamin

    tell you what my biggest memory since i’ve been with the Party and it involves you and Arlene when you were officers…involves sky and news 24 at glengall street, was definitely my worst moment as a ‘spin doctor’! See if you remember it

  • darth rumsfeld

    eh? No idea mate.

    Shouldn’t you be writing press releases for Billy Armstrong or summat?

  • darth rumsfeld

    stop press
    tonite’s Bellylaff says Davy Dikshunary is to challenge the speaker’s ruling- though significantly no such threat from Reg. More money wated on lawyers
    tsk tsk

  • Bushmills

    Jeepers – how will Ervine pay for such costly legal action? The shopkeepers on the Newtownards Road can expect to pay a little extra in protection this month!

  • PeterBrown

    Just when they thought the UUP couldn’t get any worse – maybe we can all interrogate Cpt Ervine at the UYUC next week in Cunningham House where he is the guest speaker. Some former UYUC members who are posters here may remember the old UYUC Committee being summonsed to the haedmasters office under the old regime and receving the equivalent verbally of six of the best for having the audacity to have N Dodds speak at a UYUC meeting although at least we had the decency apparently to not invite him to HQ. How times have changed – the UVF’s mouthpiece is now welcome in Cunningham House? UYUC had better seewp the building afterwards so that any bomb earnings in 25 years time can be discounted as hoaxes….don’t be surprised if they have a new range of cheap knock off UUP giftware on sale in the near future-5 UUP gas lighters for a quid etc and a DVD / Computer Games shop sub leeting on the ground floor to help out financially

  • PeterBrown

    Should have proof read that but you all know what I meant – warnings, sweep, letting

  • Frustrated Democrat


    I think trying to use David Ervine as an excuse for inviting a member of a rival party to address the UYUC is laughable.

    Both are clearly wrong.

  • PeterBrown

    I was not not justifying either – merely pointing out the inconsistency of the UUP’s internal reaction

  • pith

    This week’s prize for bringing whataboutery to an unbelievably even smaller size than ever before goes to PeterBrown for post 3. You have won a 21st century engraving (by one of Ulster’s top ex-mural painters) of the massacre by papists of poor innocent protestants in 1641. It’s worth more than nearly anything you’ll find in a pound shop.