DUP letter “draconian”

It has emerged that the DUP has required Assembly Candidates to sign up to their own enforced resignation from the Assembly, if the Party Officers decide their services are no longer required. “Draconian” should be a familiar word to at least one such candidate.

It raises several questions. Would the Speaker accept resignations not directly signed by the member? Could he/she? Also, how much dissention and on what issues are the DUP oligarchy expecting?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Apology for the double post.

  • Disorganised Uninterested Pretenders

    It just smacks of totalitarian control.

    So this is how the DUP planned to unite the Party then…

    Interesting how this document came out after most candidates have now been selected to run for the DUP.

    Wonder how many now wish they hadn’t bothered…

  • fair_deal

    The resignation letter bit isn’t new but I can’t remember what the previous conditions were (if any). The old explanation was if the DUP wanted to quit the Assembly en masse in its opposition to the Belfast Agreement this was to stop someone refusing to go.

    AFAIK and perhaps an interesting note, they apparently had such a letter signed by Paul Berry but never used it. This maybe sheds some light their likely effectiveness.

    The 1998 NI Act says:
    “Resignation of members. 51. A member of the Assembly may at any time resign his seat by notice in writing to the Presiding Officer.”

    I don’t know if this has been amended or not in subsequent acts.

    Maybe the legal eagles can enlighten us.

  • McBurney

    Utter joke. So the Doc could resign one of his dissidents after consultation and not agreement of a majority of the Party Officers and slap them with a 20K fine.

    Leadership’s that working, Ian.

  • Observer

    Barbaric and very undemocratic!

    If one breaks with a party line they should be disciplined. However this goes too far!

    Can one not repent from their actions!?

    Mind you thats how the party has got to where it is in showing a united front, unlike those UU’s.

    I’d be cautious of any detail and would like to see it, but I think one can regard this as going too far with party discipline.

    Although it’s crucial that Unionism shows a united front at this point.

  • graduate

    Has it occured to any of youse lot that this may not actually be a factually accurate report?

  • Inspector Clouseau

    My Goodness the Punt would surely have made some difference if he had been in Cunningplan house in 1998…..

    FD makes a very important point re Berry.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    No doubt the DUP hierarchy, having looked into its own avaricious heart and seeing what it sees there in the hearts of its members, is anxious to forestall the possibility of them showing more loyalty to the half crown than the crown. It’s the story of unionism really – unionist politicians have always been more interested in feathering their own nests than in serving their cause. This is an explicit admission of the DUPlicity at the heart of the DUP

  • Daphne

    Michael could I please have your Address so I can post a Valantine?

  • realist

    Maybe it’s to stop a party member from doing the same as Jeffrey Donaldson did when in the UUP?

    Maybe it’s in case they believe the leopard doesn’t change its spots?

  • Butterknife

    Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/20060053.htm

  • Crataegus

    Fair deal

    I am not a legal type but A member of the Assembly may at any time resign his seat”.

    There is a big difference between signing a letter and having it waiting and actually posting it. I would imagine that the party does not in fact have the right to forward such a letter without your express permission at that time. I can’t imagine that you can sign over that right to others and therefore change the clause above.

    A court case around these letters and contracts could do real damage to the DUP.

  • Gerry & the peacemakers

    “The resignation letter bit isn’t new…”

    This is true. I was told by a close relative of a DUP MP about this back in 2002. I remember thinking at the time that it was a bit unbelievable. Well was I wrong …

  • To the point raised above, is this accurate, or are people ventilating off the back of a Chinese whisper? – absolutely valid point. But, it’s one for the DUP to deal with. Let’s say that the precise detail of this letter concerns the party whip (rather than, say, membership of Stormont itself, which patently obviously someone else cannot ‘resign’ on your behalf – such f*cking stupidity …). Okay then, the DUP can do what they want with their own internal structures, and are subject just to the usual provisions any court these days will enforce as to fair and proper procedure. The huge own goal however (if the ‘resign [sic] from stormont because peter chucks you out’ is false) lies in the inadequacy of the DUP’s spin effort: for where’s the rapid rebuttal putting us all straight?

    If this story is as has thus far been reported, it’s not as Cartman would say, hella-stupid, it’s so bad it’s Trimba-stupid. And stupid as I’ve said elsewhere because there is no worse mistake in politics than saying you’re going to do something unpopular which it then turns out you can’t in fact do. You just look equally weak and foolish. Obviously if the detail does prove to be wrong, and it only ever concerned, say, internal stuff like management of the assembly group, then it’s been a shoddy day out by the press team. Either way, hardly an awe-inspiring afternoon.

    If this isn’t closed down by tomorrow, it’s going to end up with traditional unionists who’ve finally had enough of the UUP being so unenthused by Paisley that they’ll just stay at home. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. Way to go peter getting the biggest total vote out – or is that a stat you’ve stopped caring about?

  • Peter Brown

    Everyone has tried this (including the UUP for those posting so self righteously and some might say hypocritically) because no unionist party trusts their elected representatives as far as they can throw them. So far though no-one has made it stick or far that matter tried to enforce it…

  • To be fair Peter, you and I have both seen the various mutations over the year thats the form handed to would-be UUP candidates for Stormont and Westminster contains. Never – for the obvious reason that it’s absolutely legally unfeasible – has that form suggested that the party leader has the power to compel an eelcted representative to resign his or her seat.

  • Erratum: “years that”, ideally.

  • Peter Brown

    North Antrim did have a signed undated resignation letter in 2005 but we never attempted to use it – I thought DUP had had them for years as that was where the idea came from. The UUP old rules undertaking actually said that they would resign if they resugend the whip but I’m not too sure what the new rules say….

  • Turtly, er, totally – the UUP rubric boiled down to the hope/forlorn expectation that a renegade [sic] UUP elected bod would do the day-sent thing and, er, resign himself his seat. Nowhere was there ever foolishness profound enough to say, never mind what you might want to do, Robinson can resign your seat for you whether you want to or not (because it’s peter’s seat after all).

  • pete Whitcroft

    This says to UUP possible voters DUP will deal.
    Empey must be rather worried.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FD:

    AFAIK and perhaps an interesting note, they apparently had such a letter signed by Paul Berry but never used it. This maybe sheds some light their likely effectiveness.

    Not to defend the DUP, but surely this depends on the wording of the contract that the DUP candidates sign. If the contract is intended to keep people from knocking the leadership in public and says that the letter will only be used if this happens, then it could not be used in Berry’s case as he did not speak out against party policy.

    Mr Shilliday’s attempts to spin this are a bit wide of the mark. Yeah, I’d regard it as draconian too, but then again I’m not in the DUP. I doubt it is a matter of party officers deciding that an MLA’s “services are no longer required”; the BBC article quoted indicated that there is a procedure laid out which involves the party leader taking the decision with consultation from other members of the leadership. I am sure that the contract stipulates the conditions under which the resignation letter may be used.

  • anti-DUP

    Pete Whitcroft

    It’s time for the DUP to come to the electorate and be straight with them and say a definative yes or no to going into Govt with SF on 26th March – it’s not difficult.

    Leadership is about having balls and clearly the DUP don’t have any at present…

  • pete Whitcroft

    Anti DUP
    There’s an election on.

  • anti-DUP

    Indeed and during an election you make committments to the people in a bid to be elected.

    To date St Andrews has shown that the DUP have let the people down in terms of their ‘fair deal’ committments of 2003 and 2005…

    Now in 2007, the latest plan for the DUP is to get elected without making any committments!

    Come on Pete, its a no-brainer, the DUP just don’t have the balls or the brains…

  • pete Whitcroft

    They will stand over the fence, but the candidate pledges if true, tell the tale.

  • Peter Brown

    “Indeed and during an election you make committments to the people in a bid to be elected”

    See for example UUP 1998 – 2003

    No guns no government (a catch phrase from 1999 on but the principle(sic) was always there)

    Broken commitments = electoral catastrophe

    No reason why the DUP wouldn’t want to follow that lead then?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Indeed and during an election you make committments to the people in a bid to be elected.

    Clearly you’re new to this whole “politics” thing.

    The DUP are at the top of the table and they have been told that the alternative is to do the deal or face joint authority. Do you think permitting joint authority to go ahead is the best way to secure their objectives ? I don’t think so.

    To date St Andrews has shown that the DUP have let the people down in terms of their ‘fair deal’ committments of 2003 and 2005…

    I think the DUP’s propaganda about forcing the IRA to disarm and SF to sign up to policing is plausible to unionist voters.

    Now in 2007, the latest plan for the DUP is to get elected without making any committments!

    No shit sherlock.

  • Crataegus

    Paisley has made a career out of playing on people’s fears and sniping from the ditch. It is cheap politics. In the end he will do the deal for what are his alternatives? He has neither the skill or ability to come up with a coherent alternative path and never had. His skill is limited to criticising others without offering alternatives.

    It is a pity that he hadn’t more sense 30 years ago. To a large part, because of this man and his obstinacy and that of those he stirs up we have delayed political progress for 30 years and lost thousands of lives. History will not look kindly on him. A son that Ulster would have been better without.

  • Billy

    Crataegus

    Very true.

    We seem to have arrived in 2007 where we could have been in the mid 70’s if Sunningdale hadn’t been brought down. The main instigator of course being Paisley.

    So many lives have been needlessly lost and so much time wasted.

    To be fair, Paisley isn’t the only son that Ulster would have been better without.

    I am a moderate Catholic and I now live abroad. However, my honest opinion is that, far from being the Unionist hero he likes to think, Paisley has been damaging Unionism for 40 years and is largely responsible for it’s poor image and lack of support outside NI.

  • Plum Duff

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on the implications behind the letter, ie, that the number of dissidents within the DUP is larger than we’ve been heretofore led to believe. One interpretation of this action, therefore, might be that the party hierarchy are behind power-sharing with SF and that they are trying to stymie further maverick statements or actions which fly in the face of HQ strategy.

  • Observer

    The DUP will not be going into any executive come March 26th.

  • Disgusted

    Observer,

    so they’re willing to bring the whole thing crashing down and deny the people of NI the devolution that we all want and we all need…

    Great Leadership, thanks DUP

  • The Clockwoman

    Fair deal is no deal. But yet the DUP still beats the banker!

  • Disgusted

    I dont see how a no deal benefits anyone.

    no deal = joint partnership arrangements

    But if thats what the DUP want…

    a dreadful indictment on their ‘leadership’

  • The Clockwoman

    You don’t win elections by telling the truth. You win elections by compromising on the truth!

  • Crataegus

    Billy

    However, my honest opinion is that, far from being the Unionist hero he likes to think, Paisley has been damaging Unionism for 40 years and is largely responsible for it’s poor image and lack of support outside NI.

    True

    Disgusted

    The DUP are incapable of coherent leadership. Their brand of politics is based on that which you get at speakers corner in Hyde Park. They are a collection of soap box politicians who play to the crowd. So with that in mind lower your expectations.

  • Keep it simple:

    [1] The BBC report does not claim that Martina Purdy had seen the contract. Indeed, the final paragraph has the DUPlicity boys on the back-pedal: the contract is still under consideration (so , how can it be, firmly, two-pages?).

    [2] The contract and “fine” are self-evidently not capable of legal enforcement (though, other “persuasion” may be applied by the outer fringes of DUPery).

    [3] Lest we forget:
    ” … it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect; their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs—and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.

    “But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure — no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
    [That’s Eddie Burke, you philistines!]

  • Plum Duff

    ‘The DUP will not be going into any executive come March 26th’.
    Observer

    So, are they going to force Hain to pull the plug on the election?

    There’s no point in having one if there’s not going to be an Executive.

  • Northsider

    ’The DUP will not be going into any executive come March 26th’.
    Observer

    There won’t be rain in Ireland in February.

    Keep repeating to yourself Observer, and maybe you’ll start to believe it.

    A bitter lesson is being learned here within the DUP and among a section of its support: there are no suchs things as absolutes and moral certainties in politics.

    The compromise is being made, otherwise known as the great sell-out by those now engaged in it.

  • Dusgusted at DUP

    Paisley is about to do the very same thing he criticised Trimble for doing years ago.

  • The Clockwoman

    .. and the Judas> Molyneaux ….
    What i meant to say on the other like topic was this. In 1998 the breakdown of the unionist partys were strait forward. In the Pro-Agreement camp was the Alliance (UUP lite), UUP (DUP lite) whereas in the Anti-Agreement camp was the DUP (UKUP lite) and the UKUP. Now the DUP has wearing UUP clothing and is Pro-Agreement. It doesn’t matter how they dress the St. Andrew’s Agreement for it’s just window dressing for the GFA of 1998.

  • Tommyrot: in 1998, and for a long time afterwards, if you wanted to look at the UUP and see your own anti-agreement stance, for example, reflected back at you, it was perfectly possible. What changed Unionist politics, and permanently it seems, was Donaldson’s deaprture. Or to be more precise, what wrecked the UUP oddly enough was Trimble & his clique’s success in driving out our biggest individual vote winner. Well done David.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Or to be more precise, what wrecked the UUP oddly enough was Trimble & his clique’s success in driving out our biggest individual vote winner. Well done David.

    KR, what’s the difference between where the DUP sits now, and where the UUP sat in 1999/2000 ?

  • Paul P

    Comrade Stalin,

    I know the question wasn’t directed at me but IMHO there isn’t a radical difference between where the UUP were at in 99/2000 and where the DUP are now. However there is a difference where SF are at now from 7 years ago. The fact that the DUP resolutely refused to countenance sharing power with SF until certain conditions were met is enough of a difference from Trimble/Empey for me and may I suggest many 10’s thousands of unionists. But that prognosis will get its test in a few weeks.