UUP and Tories to consider links

Apparently there is a piece in tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph jointly authored by David Cameron and Sir Reg Empey outlining the steps both parties are taking to move closer together. This comes soon after Sir Reg outlined the disingenuous nature of the DUPs pronouncements on Unionist unity recently. More later.

  • observer

    Joining up with the party that disolved Stormont in the 70s and gave us the Anglo Irish agreement, who talked to the provos while their leader denied it,

    quite good work for the UUP

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Riveting. Anyone else want to start a thread on this subject? FFS!

  • Garibaldy

    Links to the actual pieces can be found here


    Seems a mistake by Cameron.

  • DC

    Crikey Mick will be wetting himself, clear the wires Ulster’s coming home…

  • KieranJ

    Listen, here’s the deal.

    A fellow using the name of SIR Reginald Empey comes to the United States and says, “Hello, I’m from Northern Ireland and I’m a Unionist”.

    Every year in July we have parades there wherein we dress up in tuxedoes, place bowler hats upon our heads and large sashes across our chests and march in jolly good step to old tunes that praise the British Monarch and curse the Pope and all things Irish. Won’t you come over and join us in our celebration? We would enjoy having you”.

    Who in the world would believe it?

  • SirKnight

    A very shrewd move on Camerons behalf. Considering the Tories have never really been able to get a foothold in Northern Ireland. To the comment above pathetic how very lame I take it you don’t believe in a shared future?

  • Dave

    SirKnight, and what does the Tories lack of success in NI tell you about the popularity of the brand? The French like snails but I wouldn’t invest my money in a chain of fast-food snail take-aways in NI just yet.

  • frustrated democrat

    I think all the other politcal parties will privately be very afraid. If the UUP joins forces with NI Conservatives than we will have a true political party, whether or not you agree with their policies, that will possibly be the next party in power in all of the UK.

    I think many unionist and some current nationalist voters would react very well to a non sectarian party which is also unionist and also has policies which are not based on a sectarian headcount.

    Posters like Dave don’t really seem to understand NI politics, the Conservatives can win in Northern Ireland but only when they are perceived to have a chance of winning.

    At the moment their potential voters are either staying at home or voting in the main for the UUP or the SDLP. If the UUP was no longer around and the Conservatives were perceived as the next party to be in power in all of the UK then they could attract a sizeable portion of the former UUP vote plus disaffected DUP and and ‘unionist’ SDLP voters.

    A smart move by the Conservatives and the UUP to start down the road to taking sectarian politics out of NI and getting some semblance of sense into the way Stormont is run.

    I for one hope it goes ahead and that Labour put up candidates in NI, Allaiance merges with the SDP; the end of the sectarian headcount we call politics can’t end too soon for me.

    Come on Dave and Reg get it on.

  • Dave

    Hmmm… I just replied to that duplicated post on another thread. Your point about people supporting the Tories not because of their policies but because of pragmatism is valid… they will support them if they are likely to gain power but won’t if they are not. However, as I said in the post you replied to, the alternating two party system means that the Tories will be in power for a couple of terms and out of power for a couple of terms. That’s the flaw with the strategy: it depends on the Tories having power. Great while they do, but the pragmatism doesn’t work when they’re languishing on the opposition benches.

  • Dave

    I just got your point: the ‘win’ that you’re referring to is the money that punters put on the favourite – or the reason you can’t publish polls that predict an outcome immediately before an election (floating voters back what is touted as the majority view and the likely outcome). So, if the Tories are seen as likely to gain support in NI, the floaters will back them. Maybe, or maybe they’ll only back them if they see them as serving their own selfish, pro-British interests (sectarian by default in NI). At any rate, it’s a good time to be Tory since they’re odds-on favourite to win the next election.

  • neill armstrong

    This is great news i have to applaud our party leader and our officers for their sterling work in this project.

    This proves we are really the only truly pluralistic party in Northern Ireland and I suspect this will be greeted very well by the community in Northern Ireland.

  • elvis Parker

    ‘the alternating two party system means that the Tories will be in power for a couple of terms and out of power for a couple of terms.’

    So only influence for the next 10 years then..

    The alternative being no influence at all?

  • DK

    These duplicate threads are very annoying.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is weird. The last time the Conservatives had any kind of serious representation here, they recorded one of the lowest votes in their history (1995 north Down by-election). The UUP are a faltering political party. I cannot see how the Conservatives will succeed where they failed before.

    People arguing that Labour should field candidates here have missed the point. There is already a “Labour” Party here, the Northern Ireland Labour Party. Anyone who wants to get away from the tribal vote can vote for them. We’ve got about 20 other parties representing most of the shades of opinion which are available in England. Why do people believe that an “official” party coming over to stand would automatically receive votes ? And who the hell is going to vote Labour now anyway ?

  • alan

    I think this could be a clever move by Empey and also useful for Cameron. We will be able to get some idea about this by watching the reaction of DUP and Shinners. (especially on this site).

  • truth and justice

    Interesting Cameron will need to be very carefull as this could back fire epecially if there is a hung parliament at the nect General Election he may well need the DUP. Interestingly the single UUP MP is under extreme pressure from the DUP in North Down a pack with the Conservatives could save her the seat????????

  • Parson

    As an ideological conservative, this proposed move is something I can wholeheartedly support. It gives the UUP the opportunity to be of real influence at Westminster for the first time in a very long time.

    At the end of the day, I reckon both parties need each other. Though it pains me to say it, the UUP are still battling to stave off irrelvancy and the Tories need to do SOMETHING to extend their appeal here. Scotland and Wales appear to be Tory hotbeds when compared to Northern Ireland. If they really are a party of the Union, this is a sensible step for them. For the UUP, as an unashamed party of the Union, this is merely picking up where it left off.

    I assume this means the old sore point about any Conservative MLAs registering as ”Other” has been laid to rest?

  • The thread here seems largely positive which is encouraging. Polling data that we jointly commissioned with the UUP back in May shows that the ‘joint’ brand would be very popular – indeed more popular than DUP. However only an election would confirm that. But we suspect that the DUP’s brand is very diminished given its fundamentalism, gay-bashing and general Little Ulster attitude. As David Cameron made clear this morning, we need to move on from the tired old arguments of Orange and Green. We think this a move in the right direction (pun intended).

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    IDIOT ALERT: “I think this could be a clever move by Empey and also useful for Cameron. We will be able to get some idea about this by watching the reaction of DUP and Shinners.”

    Why could it be a clever move? Have you a single reason for saying that? How could it be useful for Cameron? Give an example of how this is useful or have you, as I suspect not got the slightest clue what you are on about.

    The fact that you will gauge your opinion on how others react says a lot about you and none of it’s positive, you dimwit.

  • fair_deal

    As there are two threads on the same topic may as well cut and paste

    A sensible move for the UUP (although I can’t understand why it took them so long to get around to it.)

    They have needed to develop an identity that is more than Unionists who dislike/hate the DUP party which they have relied on in the past while. They had two basic choices either go the Alliance Road or Conservative. The Conservative route was always the more sensible choice.

    Whatever Sylvia Hermon’s inclinations it probably makes North Down safer too when you consider its electoral history.

    IMO Unionism benefits from two competitive parties. Match this with the strong staff team that has been gathered round the UUP of late (plus the fact they actually listen to them) and it seems to be an indicator that there is life in the old UUP dog yet.

    There will be the obvious attack lines about the AIA etc etc. However, even as someone for whom the AIA was a formative political event I doubt that has much bite.

    Whether it advances the broad cause of Unionism time will tell, it is essentially the insider v outsider debate to which there is no conclusive answer to. During the Troubles the relationship between the UUP and Conservatives bore only bitter fruit.

    Part of the reason the DUP looked so good in the past was the UUP was so dire so it seems the DUP will not be able to rely upon that anymore. It also acts as good incentive to re-establish a bit of message discipline and organisational rigour that seems to have been lacking of late.

    PS The NI Conservatives trying to pretend they haven’t just been well and truly done over by HQ is also a mildly amusing start to the day.

  • frustrated democrat


    They haven’t been done over, it is exactly what they wanted to happen.

  • fair_deal


    As Jeremy Paxman would say yyyeeessss

  • Mick Fealty




  • Fair Deal:
    “The NI Conservatives trying to pretend they haven’t just been well and truly done over by HQ is also a mildly amusing start to the day”
    Wrong I’m afraid the Working Party consists of NI Tories and Owen Paterson. They have been involved in all the meetings including the one last week at Westminster with Sir Reg.
    Please read the Daily Telegraph article and listen to what Cameron is saying.

  • Brian walker

    One basic flaw in the historic Ulster Unionist position is that while they have felt themselves part of the British State, they have never truly belonged to the British “political nation”. Sometimes Ulster and British unionism coalesced as in 1910-1914 at the pre-natal stage of the original Northern Ireland State. Interests traumatically diverged at the imposition of Direct Rule in 1972.

    The cement of the political nation is the system of major parties to which the Unionist don’t belong, in spite of historic links. Playing the minor parties game at Westminster emphasises their outsider role and will never admit them to the inner councils.

    If the UU aim is to revive the old Molyneaux/Powell ambition of full integration, it is doomed to failure. Constitutionally it was just viable, ( even if politically a non-starter) up to 1972 and even 1998 because the Republic had no such status. The GFA changed all that and no British government will roll it back.

    The SDLP as the other party in danger of eclipse faces similar opportunities and risks. For both, associations with bigger political brands could boost their morale and perhaps even save them.
    But there are also great risks. Come election time, momentum would be unpredictable. With a merged identity or an electoral pact, Conservative/UU on the one hand and FF/SDLP on the other could prove a huge distraction from getting down to power sharing and heighten the border and identity questions, when that’s the last thing needed.

    What other role can there be for the UUS and the SDLP than narrowing the sectarian divide? What would absorption or alliance with metropolitan parties do to stimulate cross- community voting, surely the essential stimulus for creating even the glimmer of a chance for a voluntary coalition one day?

    At worst, inappropriate links could even cut across the two parties’ long term interests and hamper the prospects for a stable political future.

    How ironic would it be for SF and the DUP to be left posing as the real champions of power sharing which the UUs and SDLP had essentially shaped.

    Sinn Fein have no such problems of synergies, as the only “national” party on either side of the divide. On the other hand, they have no fall back either. Is their choice not “a United Ireland or nothing” or lapsing into moderate nationalism in a couple of decades or so?

    For their part, both sets of national parties in London and Dublin have greater responsibilities than synergies with the locals. They must take care not to allow any talk of party partnerships to become a distraction from the real imperative for Northern Ireland, which is to make power sharing government work.

    Any suggestion that the pulls of London or Dublin are any sort of alternative, when you look at it, is mutually self-defeating.

    But if such alliances were invoked by London and Dublin to press local noses to the grindstone of good government by power-sharing, then they might be worthwhile after all.

  • fair_deal


    “Wrong I’m afraid”

    As I said “yyessss” being allowed to sit at the table while the bigger boys took the decisions with no realistic means to stop them.

    I have already read the Daily Telegraph piece. Interesting to note how the prior existence of the Conservatives gets only one bare and oblique mention.

    In all this what happens to the NI conservatives is essentially a minor detail as they were a minor presence in politics here. What it will do for the UUP and possibly Unionist turnout are the important issues in these developments.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Is the full name of the Conservatives not already the Conservative and Unionist Party?



    The Tory-Ulster Unionist links have went back years, I don’t see this latest phase of back-scratching as newsworthy…

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    I view this as a very positive development for the UUP. I was always supportive of this idea and gave DT support when he tried to do this some years ago. Interestingly enough I recall Sir Reg being quite adamantly opposed but obviously circumstances have prompted a reconsideration. It will be interesting to see how it plays out electorally. It has the potential to give the UUP a lot more relevance in the Westminster elections and perhaps it will allow challenges in some constituencies. Although of course the choice of candidates will have an influence and I wonder if Conservative HQ will get to put its imprimatur on the candidate choices or if the UUP will retain autonomy on that front. It would seem though that candidates that don’t fit the progressive wing of the call me Dave leadership would be a bit anachronistic. I suppose it will play out in due course and I look forward to being part of a revitalized UUP.

  • elvis Parker

    Fair Deal
    This is not about ‘What it will do for the UUP’ The question is simply do the UUP have the guts to merge with the Conservatives? Personally I doubt it

  • DUP Voter

    The UUP are lundies and the tories will be if they latch on.
    The DUP is the only unionist party, we are not lundies and therefore have a monopoly on that.
    I don’t see what relevance this has to the overall constitutional question because it is safe with the DUP. With selfless individuals within our ranks such as Simon Hamilton or Peter Weir I don’t see how the union could ever be in doubt

  • DSD

    “I look forward to being part of a revitalized UUP.”

    Every silver lining has a cloud.

  • frustrated democrat


    Playing a part, I think not. People take decisions based on their experience of others so don’t hold your breath.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    LOL. Thanks guys so nice of you to care.

  • nectar

    Duncan i hear the uup are looking for a teaboy.

  • No problems Dunc, I hear Smiler Burnside needs someone to stick up his posters at Sandyknowes.