Is Westminster to become a second tier chamber for Unionists?

According to the Lisburn Star, Basil McCrea will not be putting his name forward for the Westminster candidacy this time… Sheila Davidson is the Tory party’s pick (Daphne Trimble and Samuel McGee are standing for the Ulster Unionists) for the constituency… Mr McCrea was his party’s candidate in 2005, now believes that “the focus of all decisions that affect Lagan Valley is at Stormont and that is where I need to be. I also have significant objections to double jobbing and this is a clear indication of where my priorities lie for the people of Lagan Valley.”During the Troubles it was the case that Westminster was a symbol of rank within all unionist parties (and indeed it is only a symbol for Sinn Fein MPs)… But the idea that Wesminster doesn’t matter was the status quo pre 1972. Who for instance remembers Henry Maitland Clark? He’s the MP who got blown away by Ian Paisley in North Antrim in 1970, when Northern Ireland’s political crew at Westminster were second or third rankers with the party very much dependent upon the Tory link to stand their ground by proxy. Two years later that ground was almost completely washed away…

There are those within unionism who warn that farming out your political interest in Westminster to GB based political allies was disasterous in the past and that investment in all parliamentary institutions in which Northern Ireland representatives sit is the proper way forward…

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