Ulster Tory Quiz of the Day?

Who was the last Ulster Unionist MP to serve as a minister in UK adminstration? [Answer below the fold] It was Sir Robin Chichester-Clark who was Minister of State for Employment from 1972-4.

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  • fair_deal

    In a relationship lasting decades the UUP got:
    “the first and only member representing Northern Ireland to be a British government minister since the Government of Ireland Act 1920.”
    Brings into sharp focus the claim that
    “the real prospect of assuming office as ministers in the government of the day at Westminster.”

  • Michael Shilliday

    Does it really? How so? How does that comparison hold?

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “Does it really? How so? How does that comparison hold?”

    Simple if a party hints at doing something then their past failure to do so brings it into focus. The future alliance is comparable with the past alliance.

  • Dave

    Michael, Cameron may talk about Ulster MPs “supporting and serving in a Conservative Government” but the reality beyond the hype is that they’ll be doing more supporting than serving. Given that it takes 324 MPs to form a government, and given that the UUP/Tories may produce about 6 MPs in NI representing 2% of the minimum number, with about 22 cabinet ministers that means divided on a per capita basis, they’ll won’t even have the numbers to get one cabinet position (1 cabinet position = 15 MPs), so they’ll have to do with a junior minister portfolio – which is hardly the upgrade in their power that they seem to assume. Not that Cameron would sell anybody a pup, of course.

    The downside is that they’ll have traded their status as an independent party representing Ulstermen for positions that require them to support British interests (not the same thing). So, if the British government decides to give the Dublin government a greater role at some future point in preparation for unity, then the Ulstermen will be required to sell Irish unity to other Ulstermen. 😉

  • elvis Parker

    ‘they’ll have traded their status as an independent party representing Ulstermen’
    And there was me thinking they were unionists?

  • elvis Parker

    ‘So, if the British government decides to give the Dublin government a greater role at some future point in preparation for unity’
    Dream on.
    Anyhow wouldnt having people in the governing party be a better guarantee against that than your independent party of Ulstermen?

  • Dewi

    You could at least of given us a chance to guess……

  • Dave

    Elvis, that was a deliberately extreme scenario (since turkeys can’t be expected to vote for Christmas) but it serves to illustrate that there are scenarios where the interests of Ulstermen are secondary to the interests of the British government. Good relations with its neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, will take precedence for starters. As Tories, Ulstermen will be expected to support the British government. Now, you can take a quick glance at history to see that Ulstermen rarely support the British government because, oddly enough, the interests of Ulstermen and the interests of the British government are not the same thing. They weren’t too keen on the Anglo-Irish Agreement, were they? They then had the luxury to oppose but now they won’t: oppose the Tories and you’re out on your ear.

  • Trivia question of my own: can anyone name Chichester-Clark’s soon-to-be-famous Parliamentary Private Secretary?

  • willowfield

    there are scenarios where the interests of Ulstermen are secondary to the interests of the British government.

    There are scenarios where the interests of Yorkshiremen are secondary to the interests of the British government. Or where the interests of Kerrymen are secondary to the interests of the Southern Irish government.

  • wild turkey

    Trivia question of my own: can anyone name Chichester-Clark’s soon-to-be-famous Parliamentary Private Secretary?

    Watchman

    Answer: Norman Tebbit.

    I know, the prize is a bike.

  • Briso

    Trivia question of my own: can anyone name Chichester-Clark’s soon-to-be-famous Parliamentary Private Secretary?

    Posted by The Watchman on Jul 24, 2008 @ 04:32 PM

    Max Moseley?

  • Well done, Wild Turkey, a copy of Jim Allister’s “Not In My Name” document as a reward.

  • truth and justice

    it would appear from conservative sources this is a project being worked on by David Trimble so that he can become a cabinet ministe

  • truth and justice

    it would appear from conservative sources this is a project being worked on by David Trimble so that he can become a cabinet minister

  • Brian Walker

    Just to add a bit of colour to the quiz answer. Robin Chi Chi was a long time friend of the PM who appointed him as a (failed) sop to the Unionists at the same time as power sharing was emerging as Tory policy. Ted Heath recounts that years before the Troubles, he was the guest of Chi Chi on an occasion when, if memory serves, I went from school to hear Heath speak to Londonderry Chamber of Commerce in the old City Hotel. He was stupifyingly dull, even by Heath standards, because the custom in those days was that no British politician would talk about the politics of NI. So the Great Man stuck to talking about accountancy. Later Sir Robin (who used to cut a fine figure in his Apprentice Boys collarette on the 12 August by the way,) took Heath for a little drive across the border. However he insisted that the Great Man should hide under a blanket in the back seat in case he was recognised and cause upset to the loyal constituents of the old Londonderry constituency, riled by the dastardly trip. To be honest, I’m pretty sure no one would have cared, but Robin, the elder brother of James Chi Chi and the penultimate PM, was an Ascendancy gentleman of Moyola Park Castledawson and not always in touch with what the ( dare I say?) peasantry thought and felt.

  • Jonathan Kennedy

    Wasn’t Norman Tebbit once PPS to Robin Chichester-Clark?

  • wild turkey

    Watchman

    you are too kind.

    however my 7 yr old has a severe TUV allergy so we will have to take a bye on your offer.

    his birthday is next week and he could use a new bicycle

    good luck

  • WindsorRocker

    There are scenarios where the interests of Yorkshiremen are secondary to the interests of the British government. Or where the interests of Kerrymen are secondary to the interests of the Southern Irish government.

    Posted by willowfield on Jul 24, 2008 @ 04:56 PM

    Hmmm, If you can point to an example of a British government endangering the constitutional status of Yorkshire against the wishes of it’s people, then you may have a point willow…..

  • picador

    It was Sir Robin Chichester-Clark who was Minister of State for Employment from 1972-4.

    I wonder did he implement a ‘no taigs about the place employment policy’.

  • willowfield

    Very amusing, picador. You’re a hoot.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Chi Chi senior -still alive I believe-used to live in Kells, and allegedly visited his constituency as little as possible. He was ousted after a meeting with truculent constituency officers who felt his lese majeste wasn’t quite was needed in the raw early 70s. The appointment to cabinet was trailed as a recognition of hoe highly the Tories regarder their Unionists brethren, but fooled noone- like the time Jim Molyneaux was named parliamentarian of the year , just about contemporaneously with a leadership challenge from a contributor of the parish of Slugger, if memory serves…

  • Swapping Sir Robin for the fine Willie Ross was a good exchange.

    I believe one of the younger Chi-Chis did something for the Yes campaign in 1998.

  • darth rumsfeld

    The experience of the raft of dud Unionist MPs in the pre-Stormont era is a salutary lesson for the UUP as it contemplates ties with Dave’s party. The 1970-80s lot were hardly an inspiring bunch of oratorical visionaries, but were they really any worse than Stratton Mills, Rafton Pounder, Chi Chi and Co? At least the Rosses and McCuskers were of -ad in touch with-their community.

    If the Tories have their way there’ll be a tranche of stockbrokers, managament consultants and the like who have to have their backbones and brains removed as a prerequisite to selection….er .. so no change really