Dromore by election in the offing?

Here’s an interesting Unionist face off in Banbridge, where the resignation of Tyrone Howe has opened up a dispute over who should take his place. The DUP leader Councillor David Herron has said his party will “oppose the co-option of any candidate other than veteran UUP councillor William Martin, who lost his seat to running-mate Mr. Howe at the last election”. Mr Martin is thought to be considering resigning and running as an independent in any forced by election in Dromore. If it goes to the wire we might expect it to be fast tracked and the election called for next month.

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  • Stephen Warke

    Press Statement – Released Mon 17th December 2007

    Ulster Unionist Dromore Selection Candidate Stephen Warke today spoke of his disgust and disappointment with the lack of professionalism displayed by Lagan Valley Ulster Unionist Association in organising and conducting the selection procedure on Saturday morning. Speaking after the event, Stephen said,

    “The Selection Meeting was an absolute shambles, indeed the meeting itself, in accordance with the Party Rules could be deemed as ‘illegal’ as several members from the Dromore Branch did not receive their Notice of Meeting 14 days beforehand. Indeed some members received an email no more than 38 HOURS before the Selection Meeting itself. This is just not good enough.”

    “Furthermore, there was also no advertisement of the ‘electoral vacancy’ placed within any local newspaper or any other media format, which I am led to believe to be a normal convention at such times.”

    “At the meeting itself, Mr. John Hanna raised a matter in the meeting which led to a discussion for almost 20 minutes with regard to my eligibility to stand for the seat. With coming from Belfast I understand the rationale, however, Mr. Hanna is a member of the Scarva Branch of Upper Bann Ulster Unionist Association and as such had no right to attend this meeting, let alone speak at it. I would also contend that as the Chairman of Banbridge District Council it was wrong for him to have interfered in the selection process as I believe there is a conflict of interest. The Chairman of Banbridge District Council in my opinion acted improperly in attempting to influence the outcome of an internal selection meeting.”

    “The second speaker was Mr. Basil McCrea MLA and employer of one of my opponents who also spoke on the same issue only more vociferously and more often. Mr. McCrea is a member of Hillsborough Branch of Lagan Valley Ulster Unionist Association and as such he also had no right to attend this meeting or speak at it.”

    “It is my view that the points raised by these two illegitimate speakers seriously contaminated the selection process to the clear benefit of the other contenders with the Chairman of Lagan Valley being put into a very awkward position and left with very few options when forced to make a ruling.”

    “I have written to the Party Leader on this matter and I await his response. Sadly due to incompetence and mismanagement on what should have been an opportunity to show the progress which the Ulster Unionist Party has made in recent months, only goes to show that whilst there is a will for change throughout the Party, in Lagan Valley old habits die hard.”

  • Jack Black

    Were you eligible to stand Stephen? The law says not.

  • Stephen Warke

    Jack (another faceless user),

    Set the eligibility issue to the side for a moment. There are more important issues that need to be addressed such as the period of notice given to delegates, lack of advertising of the ‘electoral vacancy’ and then persons attending and speaking at a meeting who had no right to do so.

    With this in mind, i would contend that according to the rules of the Ulster Unionist Party the selection on Saturday was illegimate and illegal.

    I understand that there were concerns with regard to my eligibility – and i had and continue to have no problem wih that – but the issue should have been cleared up before Saturday. I was put on notice that there were concerns at 4pm on the Friday, not exactly a lot of notice – hence another reason why i have said that the entire process was one shambles after another.

  • Jack Black

    Could you quote the rule that says it needs to be advertised?

    Could you confirm that the Council meets tonight to fill the seat, making the selection meeting necessarily rushed?

  • billya


    Why were you not allowed to stand?

    Also did Basil McCrea vote, and was the selection of the candidate being undertaken by the local branch or the association.

    I know that where we are at, if it refers to a council matter, then it is only the members of the party who reside within that council area are allowed to vote. Anyone else who is a member of the party, is asked to leave the room.

    Does Basil McCrea of Mr Hanna live within the Banbridge Council Area. If they do, then I feel they would be entitled to vote at the selection.

  • “Set the eligibility issue to the side for a moment. There are more important issues that need to be addressed”

    Hundreds of posts on numerous other threads say you’re wrong! 😉 ho ho ho.

  • Jack Black

    Only members who could vote in the by election voted in the selection meeting. Who else was there is a matter for the Chairman of the meeting, not Stephen Warke or anyone else.

    He wasn’t allowed to stand because he couldn’t take the seat if he was selected. You have to have been living, working or voting in the Council area for a year. He hasn’t.

  • Stephen Warke

    In terms of eligibility there is a ‘grey’ area and today it has been confirmed that “during the past 12 months” is open to interpretation. The is an argument over whether it is for the entire 12months or if ‘during’ could mean 9 out of the past 12 months.

    However, it is now irrelevant.

    The bottom line is, whats done is done and it can’t be changed. Yes, there are some issues that will need to be addressed in time as to who can speak at meetings etc but thats for the Leader and Party Officers to deal with.

    I’ve put the matter behind me, its Christmas so in the spirit of goodwill i wish you all the best for Christmas, don’t eat or drink too much and let fate take its course at tonights Council Meeting, whatever will be will be.

    Happy Christmas, one and all.


  • Jack Black

    Don’t be an idiot, there is no interpretation to make. It means all of the 12 months.

    Who spoke was a matter for the Chairman of the meeting, not the Party Officers.

    If you are so willing to drop it, why did you issue a “press release”, presumably to all the Co Down locals like your daft “press conference” a couple of weeks ago? Do you think you should be disciplined for taking the internal dealings of the party to the press?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Why did Tyrone Howe resign in the first place?

  • getthefacts

    Stephen is right in his reading of the Law

    The 1972 Act says:- “(c) his principal or only place of work during that twelve months has been in the district of the council.”

    1. The word ‘during’ means ‘throughout the course or duration of’ or ‘at some point in the duration of’.

    2. In clause (c) ‘during’ is not qualified by ‘the whole of’ as used in Clause (b)

  • No matter how small the UUP gets, it is still large enough for in-fighting. To put in my tuppence worth, I reckon “during the last 12 months” means a continual period of 12 months, otherwise why have the rule.

    Once upon a time, Dromore was probably the strongest UUP area in the entire province. In 1989 it won 4 out of the 5 local council seats with the excellent Drew Nelson topping the poll by a country mile. That total fell to 2 in 2001 and then 1 in 2005. By the latter date its sole councillor was the wet-as-rain Tyrone Howe, another arriviste of the Turtle era who, perhaps predictably, stuck at it for 2 and a bit years before throwing in the towel.

    How the once mighty have fallen.

  • “Why did Tyrone Howe resign in the first place?”

    he cited work commitments.

  • Stephen Warke

    The 1972 Act says:- “(c) his principal or only place of work during that twelve months has been in the district of the council.”

    1. The word ‘during’ means ‘throughout the course or duration of’ or ‘at some point in the duration of’.

    2. In clause (c) ‘during’ is not qualified by ‘the whole of’ as used in Clause (b)

    The above is what I was explaining earlier on.

    If I am correct, it may be worth looking at the legislation and tightening it up to ensure that someone does not find themselves in the situation that I unfortunately did.

  • Jack Black

    If you are so willing to drop it, why did you issue a “press release”, presumably to all the Co Down locals like your daft “press conference” a couple of weeks ago? Do you think you should be disciplined for taking the internal dealings of the party to the press?

  • getthefacts


    Your understanding of the Law is correct and your concern about the meeting last Saturday is correct, you are owed :-

    1. an apology from John Hanna, Basil McCray and Barry Fitzsimmons,

    2. withdrawel of her name by Carol Black; and,

    3. an apology from Sir Reg on behalf of the Party.

    Show a bit of Grace and Humility guys – Paul got it right and you got it wrong. Or is that too much to expect!

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Mr Warke, it seems that you were treated unfairly but surely any victory will be purely pyrrhic if it damages the reputation of your party in the area? That’s what going to the press does, it makes the party look like a bunch of divided squabblers.

  • Jack Black

    He hasn’t been treated unfairly! He was treated just like anyone else would have been! Nothing was wrong with the selection meeting, it was done as well as it could have been in the circumstances.

  • getthefacts

    Show a bit of Grace and Humility guys – Stephen got it right and you got it wrong. Or is that too much to expect!

  • Jack Black

    He/you did not get it right.

  • Suggested headline for this week’s Dromore Leader:

    “Bald Men In Fight Over Comb”

  • getthefacts

    3.- (1) A person shall, unless disqualified by virtue of this Act or any other statutory provision, be qualified to be elected and to be a councillor, if on the relevant day he has attained the age of twenty-one years and is a British subject or a person to whom section 121 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962 (saving for rights of certain persons who are not British subjects) applies and –

    (a) on that day he is a local elector for the district of the council; or

    (b) he has during the whole of the twelve months immediately preceding that day –
    (i) occupied as owner or tenant any land in the district of the council, or
    (ii) resided in the district of the council; or

    (c) his principal or only place of work during that twelve months has been in the district of the council.

  • Turgon

    I should not be posting this but does it occur to anyone in the UUP who is carrying on a private argument on a public website that this is a bad idea?

    The DUP are having considerable difficulties at the moment. What are UUP members doing? Fighting over a council seat on the most widely read political website in Northern Ireland.

    Now not that many people in absolute terms read slugger but lots of political types do. As such this is advertising your disagreements and incompetence to the sort of people who talk to their friends, relatives and colleagues.

    Still I guess if the UUP are still falling apart where can disgruntled DUP voters go? TUV.

    On second thoughts then; I agree with one of you (I do not care which one) in order to keep your fight going.

    Watchman if you support Jack Black I will support Mr. Warke and vice versa so it will keep the whole thing going. You choose first.

  • Dewi

    LOL Turgon – just wait till you start to try and get a council seat mind….(very42 – at last makes sense !)

  • Ignited

    Congratulations to Stephen Warke in going to the media about his personel gripes after not getting selected to run for council. Considering the UUP may now be faced with a by-election to save a seat and Stephen critiicising the way in which his opponent was selected he has just struck a blow against the party he works for.

    Considering Stepehen that you put your name forward for selection to the East Belfast constsituency for the March 2007 Assembly election you candiiture was (conincedently) rule ineligible your commmitment to Dromore is questionable.

    You have both embarassed yourself and the UUP again.

    Good luck to Carol Black, because with friends and colleagues like Stephen Warke, who needs enemies.

  • Wandering

    And here it is, folks. One of the reasons why they fail. As a placid, cardigan wearing, balding, mild Unionist, I’d love to vote for the UUP.

    But after reading that, how could you?

    The DUP don’t speak for me. So where now for those of us committed to a union, but not through the strident views of Papa Doc Paisley?

    Oh no…oh…oh my goodness….it looks like the alternative is….JIM ALLISTER!!!!! Waaaaaaaaah!


  • Peter Brown

    Who else here remembers the UUP Party hacks infamous line that “If only we could get rid of….insert persona non grata of the moment at Glengall Street and then subsequently Cunningham House….then we could all get along famously, the 100,000 voters who have deserted us because we keep bickering DUP imposed scales will fall from their eyes and become UUP supporters again and the UUP’s divine right to rule NI will be restored?

    It appears that despite the departure of almost everyone on the hit list (Let’s face it almonst everyone full stop from the UUP!) both its exiting members insist on falling out with each other. Reminds me of a joke about a Presbyterian stranded on a Desert Island for 50 years and when his rescuers arrive they discover him worshipping in a church he has built for himself. As they take him back to their boat they pass the ruins of another church and query his claim that there was no-one else on the island to which he replies “Oh that’s the one I used to go to” Sound fmailiar to any former or especially current UUP members?

  • Kind offer, Turgon, but getting embroiled in the UUP’s Dromore difficulties would test even my festive generosity. Merry Christmas to you anyhow.

    I guess this spat is further evidence of the UUP’s inability to conduct its internal affairs in private. And there’s me thinking that things would be calmer with Jeffrey gone. Even when the DUP runs into real turbulence – as it will at some point – this lot won’t be there to capitalise on it.

  • getthefacts

    The decision of Banbridge District Council last night was to call a by-election.

  • Ahem

    Hmmmn, another black mark against McCrea’s pretensions to competence. This is what he wastes his time doing? Flacking like this? Deeply, deeply unimpressive.

  • What an absolute farce. Once again the UUP have shown again what a joke they are. Ordinary people vote UUP apparently, but what kind of ordinary person would serriously want to vote UUP after this display of what can be best described as an Emo Whine Fest on the part of Stephen Warke.

  • Queen’s Unionist


    Why don’t you run in the by-election as an independent?

    Given the fact that you thought yourself suitable to be a possible UUP candidate, you obviously have a huge profile in Dromore.

    Let’s hear it – you “know what the people on-the-ground want”.

  • Whydoesnobodyloveme

    I am delgihted that IGNITED recalled stephens botched attempt at candidature for the East Belfast Assembly elections. Thank goodness the people of Dromore didn’t have to choose someone who can’t even understand a form or met a deadline – what a tube.

    Of course he’ll not stand as an independent – that would be a slight on his great party and leader. I’m sure a space will be found for him in belfast shortly anyhow, either in the council chamber or on one of their cleansing units. Delighted by Dromore UUPs decision.

  • uupobserver

    “Delighted by Dromore UUPs decision.”

    Hold your breath for a moment!

    The meeting was ‘arranged’ by the Lagan Valley Association. A number of eligible local Branch members in the Dromore area, including the Chairman of the Dromore Branch, were not given due notice.

    Because the meeting was ‘illegal’ the Dromore etc UUP Branches did not make any decision. A properly convened meeting will need to be called to select a candidate for the by-election.

    I think the ‘tubes’ are to be found a little higher up in the Party than Stephen.

  • Turgon

    I will say it again. Do you lot have no clue how to do politics at all?

    First we had Mr. Warke issuing a press release attacking other UUP members on the leading Northern Ireland public political web site. Then we have had a series of people using names I have not seen before on slugger indulging in pretty personal attacks on one another, the party leadership etc. It is pretty increadible except of course we have seen it all before on the YU’s blog. I guess some of the participitants may eventually grow up. By that time, however, there may be no UUP left.

    Do not worry the TUV is being set up. I sent in an application form. I have always been extremely cautious about TUV’s chances of sucess but looking at what some of the alternatives do (on this website at any rate) I do begin to have a bit more hope.

    The Watchman,
    It seems we do not need to try to keep this going.
    Merry Christmas

  • IJP

    This is very entertaining stuff – for other pantomimes, you need to buy tickets…

  • Butterknife

    Move on. The UUP use a 2004 (give or take a year) Constitution and Stephen shouldn’t have burnt his bridges like he did.

  • for other pantomimes, you need to buy tickets…

    And in other pantomimes, the horses generally don’t shit all over the stage.

  • Buggerhed

    Any idea what the people on the ground have to say on the issue?

    Down with this sort of thing!

  • uupobserver
  • darth rumsfeld

    I am loathe to blog this on this thread about a serious subject but it is the only UUP related one going where some will be interested in sad news.

    Jean Coulter, the redoubtable West Belfast Unionist passed away on Thursday night.

    She had been secretary to Desmond Boal in the 1970s , and through this connection graduated into public life in the 1970s, later becoming an implacable opponent of David Trimble. She was incapable of tailoring her principles to suit the pressures of others, and was utterly fearless in the face of hostility from within and without Unionism. Jean would take no nonsense in debate from anyone, and many a politician who dared to condescend to the wee woman from the west learned not to make the mistake again.

    If people want to know why the UUP was able to see off Paisley for so long, they need only see that it was once a home for people like Jean; and if they want to know why it is dying, they need only know that the UUP no longer wanted people like Jean.

  • Jack Black

    Well said Ian Burns and Joan Baird.

  • uupobserver

    ‘Well said…’?

    One ‘minor’ point UUP councillors left unsaid – Carol Black was not a legitimate UUP nominee. A properly called and managed selection meeting will be necessary after Christmas.

  • Jack Black

    uupobserver/Mr AB, you’re not going to win this one. The meeting was rushed for good reason and was held in the knowledge of everyone entitled to vote. Even if there is a new meeting, the result would be the same making it pointless.

    Now stop doing this on Slugger and get canvassing.