UKIP councillor stands for MLA…

PA reports: “Newry and Mourne councillor Henry Reilly, who defected this week from the Ulster Unionists to UKIP, announced plans to run in the March 7 Assembly Election in South Down”. Mr Reilly is thought to have some substantial financial backing. He is also a former Mayor of Newry and Mourne. He came second in the Mournes area last time out, and may help put a squeeze on the Unionist vote in the area, providing he can get the UKIP message out, outside of this own council patch.

  • There are still two unionist quotas with a bit to spare here, so it’s not likely to put the ‘unionist’ vote under pressure.

    If the DUP are running two candidates here, however, it might make things interesting. In the council elections, the UUP were marginally ahead of the DUP and both had a clear quota’s worth. However, in the general election, Wells slaughtered Nesbitt by close to 2:1. This may have been exacerbated by UUP voters voting tactically for McGrady in the General Election, but even so if I were the UUs I wouldn’t be taking this seat too much for granted.

    The question is then who will Reilly take votes from? Could he actually stem the flow of UUP voters to the DUP by giving them a sort of halfway berth to stop off in, rather as UKUP did for many in 1998? Or is he going to get much of a vote at all beyond a local vote around Kilkeel? I’d actually be inclined to think not – South Down does not have much of a history of rewarding minor unionist candidates.

  • interested

    Henry isnt going to win a seat – no-one in their right mind would predict that.

    It is all about where he takes votes from. Whoever he is running for, his history is very much UUP and the vast majority of people who will vote for him will be on a personal basis and will probably be traditionally Ulster Unionist. The UUP dont exactly have a candidate who will inspire so they could lose a few votes to the better known candidate in the DUP.

    The few votes which Henry takes could just help keep the UUP total down low enough on the first count to help the DUP.

    Will still be a massive ask for 2 DUP seats, but this helps not hinders.

  • interesting

    UUP are running one candidate who will attract a strong rural vote in this rural constituency. He is a former president of the young farmers and is well known in the constituency as well as being young and attractive.

    Its hard to know who UKIP would steal votes from and I don’t think they will get many at all, but lets consider, they are a far right party…i think its likely they will take a few DUP votes, especially from those disconcerted with Wells cuddliness.

  • Observer

    It’s good to see UK Mainland Parties showing an interest in Northern Ireland and giving people a choice. But these defectors are wasting their time and only seek election in spite. I would also question whether their Party HQ’s really care.

    I would take these parties more seriously if they actually stood candidates from the ground up, i.e. random non-Ulster Party affiliated people joined their ranks to offer an alternative. If this was the case I’d take their party message a bit more seriously.

    My point being it would be better to see these Parties, UKIP etc campaigning on the ground for new membership rather than having people throwing themselves at them. In essense this shows that their Party HQ’s don’t give a damn. For example, are the Conservatives run locally in NI in comparison to any other region/area of the UK?

    I would spare the Conservatives from this criticism too an extent, but then again people like Bob Litte, James Leslie (all former UUP) are throwing themselves at them. Shear opportunism?

    I would however commend these local activitists in pushing their GB HQ’s to play an active role in NI. But I ask if the interest is really there on behalf of Cameron et al?

  • slug

    Observer

    Word has it that Dave Cameron will be campaigning locally for the Conservative vote in the NI elections.

  • Doreen

    Slug,

    I have heard that too, and while I do not think too much of Mr cameron per se, the campaigning interest of the Leader of the Opposition here just might get the Conservative candidate my vote.

  • Doreen

    Slug,
    I have heard that too, and while I do not much like Mr Cameron per se, the campaigning interest of the Leader of the Opposition here might just get my vote for the East Belfast Conservative candidate.
    I was not at all impressed by the silly ducking and diving of Papa Doc on tonight’s ‘Hearts and Minds’.
    He and Mr Robinson have every intention of going into an Executive with Sinn Fein/IRA but will not frighten the horses/voters before the election by saying so.
    And Terence O’Neill only wanted to give Sean Lemass a spot of lunch at Stormont.
    What a very funny world.
    And what were the last forty years all about?

  • I think observer might be overstating the capacity of UKIP ‘headquarters’ to do very much about anything. Also, UKIP almost entirely consists of disillusioned Tories, so Henry Reilly fits like a glove…

  • pete Whitcroft

    900 tops

  • Wilde Rover

    Strange. I met the guy a few times when I lived in the area and I marked him out from most of his unionist peers because he seemed to lack the unconscious sneer that winds up nationalists so.

    I also came to the conclusion that if Norn Iron had had unionist politicians like him from day one things might have been a little different.

    Of course, that was years ago, before the UUP became as fashionable as asbestos.