No sign of the DUP in Westminster…

Interesting to note that on a day of major concern to national security in the UK, there were no Unionist representatives in Westminster yesterday. Jacqui Smith drew plaudits from all sides of the house and got good reviews in most British newspapers yesterday for what most agreed was a calm and reasoned response to the current crisis in Britain. Frank Millar notes:

At Westminster yesterday there was cross-party congratulation for Ms Smith’s “calm” and “dignified” response to the security crisis, coupled with relief on Labour’s benches at 10 Downing Street’s assurance there would be “no rush” to legislation in response to it.

No Northern Ireland MPs were present to contribute to the exchanges on Ms Smith’s emergency Commons statement, during which she thanked the Scottish Executive and its officials for their co-operation in response to what she called a “pan-UK threat”.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and nationalist parties reacted positively to Ms Smith’s assurance that she would proceed with a new anti-terrorism Bill, probably in the autumn, by way of extensive consultation with other parties and communities outside parliament.

Eddie McGrady of the SDLP managed to show up for the Policing debate in the evening, but even then the DUP were nowhere to be found. McGrady has the advantage that he doesn’t also hold down a job at Stormont. Sylvia Hermon, the UUP’s sole MP, and another single jobber, generally arrives on Tuesdays.

The obvious question: did the DUP really need all nine of its double jobbing MP/MLAs at for a formal (but largely inconsequential) education debate in Stormont, when as the Home Secretary put it, there is a ‘pan UK threat’? Or is Northern Ireland now sufficiently ‘unto itself’ that UK (or indeed local policing) matters no longer concern the party?

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  • unionist

    The Dup will retreat further into their Ulster Nationalist bunker. Far better to be big fish in a small pond when power is your only motivation.

  • james

    ”the ordinary DPP members, both elected and independent, who, to be quite blunt about it, suffered greatly at the hands of Sinn Fein in particular. My colleagues in the SDLP—both elected and non-elected—had their homes bombed, got bullets in the post, were physically threatened and sometimes physically assaulted”…………………………………….is Mr. McGrady implying that all this occurred at hands of Sinn Fein?

  • Frank Sinistra

    “I hope that the interpretation of “terrorism” will be expanded to cover involvement in any quasi-political activity such as intimidation, extortion and blackmail. Elected Sinn Fein councillors who signed up to this process many years ago were still engaged in such activities in their own communities; for all I know, some of them might still be.

    Wonder if he’d care to offer evidence for any of that.

  • fair_deal

    The multiple jobbery does seriously need to be addressed. It is unhealthy for Unionism in general and for party-building in particular.

    There were a number of contributory factors
    1. The speedy electoral growth of the DUP.
    2. The use of Assembly elections as a springboard to take Westminster seats.
    3. Doubts about the longevity of the Assembly
    4. The influence of personality politics on the Unionist electoral patterns.
    With a dash of ego thrown in.

    None of these hold particular water anymore. 1. The DUP’s position of dominance seems pretty assured and it has attracted in new talent.
    2. The Westminster seats are all pretty safe so the Assembly springboard is no longer essential.
    3. The Assembly looks a good bet to stay.
    4. The recent Assembly elections would indicate that running the MP doesn’t especially attract beyond the core vote anyway. Also it is never wise for a party to rely on personality voting.

    Also a good team at Westminster needs to be part of Unionism’s longer-term strategy both in the Commons and (soon to be reformed) Lords. It was a serious misjudgement by the DUP to effectively throw away two peerages. It could also be where talented people could be encouraged and an opportunity for them to gain experience before shifting to the Assembly for a possible ministerial career.

    While it can’t be stopped all at once each Westminster election should see its reduction.

  • Democratic Centre

    ‘The Dup will retreat further into their Ulster Nationalist bunker. Far better to be big fish in a small pond when power is your only motivation.’

    Hear Hear

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Speaking of double-jobbery, Peter Robinson has resigned from Castlereagh Council. Seems the DUP is indeed starting to deal with this issue.

    Now what about Dodds etc?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Throw away two peerages? Whatever could you mean?!

  • observer

    at least the DUP had an excuse, they were at the Assembly, as for Syliva being absent …..

  • Token Dissent

    An apalling display from our MPs. The double-jobbery is clearly a factor, but a larger one is the narrow vision of the MPs. Was even a show of solidarity too much to ask?

  • At least the DUP MPs were doing something at Stormont and not messing around on the local councils where unbelievably all of them except Papa Doc and, apparently the Punt, still sit. It says a lot for the parochial nature of the DUP although it’s not especially surprising.

    I don’t see the double-jobbing ending any time soon. Firstly, there is egotism and the need to stay Top Dog in an area. Secondly, there isn’t enough talent in the DUP to sustain 36 Assembly and 9 Parliamentary seats.

  • ” there isn’t enough talent in the DUP to sustain 36 Assembly and 9 Parliamentary seats.”

    Here here! When you cannot find anyone better than Poots in your ranks you are clearly suffering from an acute talent shortage.

    Bunch of waster! Surely this is an issue of national importance to the UK or don’t they care about UK citizens getting blown up now that all our own terrorists are too busy governing N.I. to bomb us?

  • Moving the debate a bit beyond the usual parochial borders, but still regarding the ethics of double (triple?) jobbing……