Debate has ensued about comments made by NI Tory Jeffery Peel about Orangemen. He was reported to have described the Orange Institution as a backward-facing, history obsessed, parish pump society, adding: “[It] is clear that we do have to address the issue of whether members of the Orange Order – or other sectarian organisations – should be permitted to join the Party…
Given that the Orange Order has been central to the Unionist movement since its foundation his comments offer an interesting insight as to the selection and promotion of Orange members of the party – a party (the UUP) which would still advertise a considerable number of members who are also members of the loyal orders.
The story appeared on Talk Back today with the UUP saying that membership of the Orange Order would have no influence over party affiliation.
However perhaps the Tories have other ideas – can they veto candidates put forward to the Joint Committee for selection on this basis?