When Slugger talked to UUP leader Sir Reg Empey on BlogTalkRadio last week, links available here, he had some thoughts on the Labour and Conservative parties joining directly in election battles here and the evolution towards normal politics. But with Conserative leader David Cameron reported to be campaigning today on behalf of former Ulster Unionist junior minister James Leslie in North Down, some more familiar, if depressing, concerns are being voiced by the UUP about the Tories.. are they unionists?.. Adds Thanks to Bob Wilson, the Conservatives NI party’s official responseFrom the Irish Times breaking news
“David Cameron is a slick political operator, but can he answer some fundamentally important questions to the voters of Northern Ireland?” Sir Reg asked.
“There was a time when the Conservative Party on the UK mainland styled itself the ‘Conservative and Unionist party’, but Northern Ireland Conservatives appear to have a problem with the term unionist.
“Their 2003 Assembly manifesto claimed ‘we are a party of the Union’, yet it pledged the following: ‘Any Conservative elected to the Assembly will refuse to play the sectarian headcount and will remain non-designated’.
“In the first instance, we are at a loss to see how anyone could claim to be a party of the Union and yet object to being designated as a unionist,” Sir Reg said.