Conservatives will stand in all 18 constituencies…

Jeff Peel’s been at the Tory party conference and yesterday came across Owen Paterson… who reassured him that the South Belfast Unionist Association would not block Conservative plans to stand candidates in all 18 Northern Ireland constituencies…

Yesterday I had a conversation with Owen Paterson MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and asked him what the Party position was on South Belfast. His words were very reassuring. He repeated a line he has used very often. “We will run Conservative candidates in every seat in the United Kingdom – including South Belfast.” Indeed, Owen went on to make clear that if the UUP in South Belfast didn’t want to play ball – no problem. The Conservatives have already short-listed a candidate for the seat – Peter McCann. Peter is ideally positioned to take votes from across the constituency and all “community Backgrounds” – and could well take the seat from the SDLP. Peter will give the voters of South Belfast the opportunity to vote Conservative. Hopefully he will expose the sitting MP as one who rarely shows-up at Westminster, rarely votes and is rather expensive to maintain. In that respect he’s very like DUP MPs.

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