In a statement, Sir Reg criticised the timing of her comments. “The leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party is disappointed that Lady Hermon, in the middle of an election campaign, has chosen to give a series of interviews in which she has challenged party policy and the collective decisions taken by her colleagues,” he said. “Her own position is not an issue in the present campaign. “She was assured last year that she would not be required to take the Conservative Party whip in the lifetime of the present parliament.
And from Jeffrey Peel, the former vice-chair of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland
“She made clear on many occasions that one of her concerns was that the Ulster Unionist Party is dominated by a group of increasingly elderly men,” he said. “She’s the Ulster Unionists’ only MP and a woman, yet she wasn’t involved in the process (of the renaming) at all so she was completely sidelined. “From a people management point of view, the Ulster Unionist Party messed up big time.”