Parsley to leave Alliance at 3pm this afternoon…

After meeting with his old party leader this morning it looks like Mr Parsley may on his way back to the Conservatives. Both Ian and the Alliance Party will issue statements at three o’clock. It’s a bit of a coup for the New Tories to peel off the Alliance party’s rising star from the European elections but it remains to be seen just what that adds up to in next year’s election steeplechase stakes. It may steel the hand of those inside UCU-NF wanting to have a pop at their own sitting MP, Sylvia Hermon. Ian’s bright, young and very well suited to the North Down constituency.

Adds from the BBC:

Alliance Party leader David Ford said he was “very disappointed” at the news. He said he felt Mr Parsley had “left a promising political career to stumble down a blind alley”. Until Friday, Mr Parsley worked as an official with Alliance, but is set to begin a new post with the Centre for Social Justice, a think-tank set up by former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith.

He has also done his far share of knocking of doors. But unseating what would be by then an independent Lady Hermon (who already pulls in quite a swathe of the Alliance vote in every Westminster election) is a task of quite another order. It remains to be seen what effect the nature of his going has on his former party colleagues. Not to mention the effect on voters of ousting Syliva. That’s as risky a move now as ever it was. But the party may be keen to do something with the bright young turk from Groomsport.

That’s of course if the Tories can pick through the current deadlock with the UUP on the choice of candidates… Not everyone at Cunningham House erm, Albertbridge Road, is keen for her go; before next May at least…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty