Empey on opposition and the future of party Unionism

Sir Reg Empey in his speech to East Antrim Association has ruled out going into opposition.

On Inside Politics this morning he stated that there will be no “conquest” of the UUP by the DUP Paisley or no Paisley, and revealed that there has been no further correspondence from the DUP on an electoral pact after 6 months, leading him to call it a stunt on their part.

But there is no provision for a formal and funded Opposition in the present structures. No finance available for research purposes. No mechanisms for channelling Opposition legislation or recognising Opposition spokesmen. In other words, there is no such thing as the Official Opposition: and therefore no role for an Opposition party.

There is no-one in the DUP, or Sinn Fein—or indeed any other party—that I would wish to see in the post of Health Minister or even at DEL! There is an important job to be done in both those areas and I think that we are the best party to do that job.

But we will not be suffocated by any Executive line. And we will not be bound by any DUP/SF DUP carve-up of office. Rather we want to see a genuine power-sharing administration.

I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.

Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday