UUP looking ahead to general election…

TOM Elliott has been unanimously endorsed by the UUP in Fermanagh-South Tyrone as its candidate for the next general election. The local paper noted that the Tory spokesman on NI was present. The seat has often been discussed in terms of a UUP-DUP pact, in which one party would stand aside in F-ST while the other would do the same in South Belfast, in order to get two more unionists in Westminster. But there has also been a suggestion that the UCUNF (UUP/Tory alliance) would stand everywhere, so the move in F-ST is putting it up to the DUP a little, though an election is still miles off. In South Antrim, speculation that UUP leader Reg Empey would stand appears to have been scuppered, with the front-runners now hardline unionist mayor Adrian Watson or old schooler Danny Kinehan. Watson is a protege of former S Antrim MP David Burnside who recently quit politics. I’m not surprised – he’s bound to have his PR hands full with Fred the Shred on his books.

  • ABC

    “I’m not surprised – he’s bound to have his PR hands full with Fred the Shred on his books.”

    The country’s most hated man being represented by its most obnoxious?

    As to Elliot

    What are the odds that he is being used as a pawn? Select Elliot, then the Tories come riding over the hill with a “unity” candidate to try and brow-beat the DUP into withdrawing despite the fact that they are twice the size of the UUP?

    Watch this space.

  • Seymour Major

    The UUP are entitled to endorse whoever they wish. If T. Elliot is selected as the candidate for FST by the election committee, he deserves to be supported by UUPs and the Conservatives alike, simple as that.

  • The Raven

    Twice the size of the UUP?

    Hopefully – and I don’t care at who’s hands – it will lead to double the fall.

  • Dewi

    From the nationalist perspective is there any prospect of a SF = SDLP deal to stand down in South Belfast and FST?

  • Turgon

    This may or may not be a relevant development. Clearly after the recent suggestions that the Tories would fight every election in the UK, the UUP probably wanted to be on message.

    However, there is a difference between choosing a candidate (the obvious one of course) and running him. It would be perfectly possible to withdraw Elliot if they get a good offer from the DUP or indeed not run someone in South Belfast in exchange for the DUP standing aside in F/ST.

    Although the Tories may like the sound bite of standing in every seat I do think they need to think extremely carefully about this. The unionist population of F/ST may take very poorly to any decision which will effectively guarantee the re election of a “representative” who does not attend parliament and unless recent developments have changed things has stated that a future generation of republicans might have to return to violence. In addition unless she has made any recent statements I seem to recall that she has not endorsed people going to the police about terrorist criminal activity.

    Clearly F/ST is pretty trivial to the Tories. However, if the New Force do run in F/ST and guarantee the seat to SF; the UUP will be sending a message of their disinterest in the real politick of supporting and representing the unionist community in F/ST and indeed west of the Bann in general.

  • dub

    It is a great honour to have been selected by Ulster Unionist Party to try and win back this seat which was so wretchedly won by Sinn Fein in 2001.
    “It is vital that this seat is won back for Unionism and for all those people across Fermanagh and South Tyrone who have suffered by not having any representation at Westminster for the last eight years.”

    I see the new shiny UCUNF non sectarian non headcounting nationalist friendly message has not reached the dreary steeples yet!