“I am not a Tory and I shall not be taking the Tory whip.”

The Irish News‘ Diana Rusk has been speaking to the independently minded MP for North Down, Lady Sylvia Hermon.

The North Down MP said she would make a final decision over her political future following a key constituency meeting scheduled for Thursday. “Once I hear the views from my friends and colleagues in the North Down UUP Association I will be much better placed to decide the best way forward in terms of the Westminster election.” Lady Hermon said. “I may be left with no other option than to run as an independent candidate.”

Also from the Irish News report

She said she remained opposed to the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force arrangement.

“I have been repeatedly told by the party leadership there will be no derogation of party policy in relation to taking the Tory whip at Westminster,” she said.

“I am not a Tory and I shall not be taking the Tory whip. We have an impasse at the present time which I expect to be discussed fully and openly at our local North Down Association AGM this Thursday evening in Bangor.”

Lady Hermon said she had been given tremendous support and loyalty by the association but realised that it also remained loyal to the party.

“I feel very responsible for the mandate given to me in 2005 at the general election,” she said.

“I stood as an Ulster Unionist candidate. I didn’t stand as an Ulster Unionist/Tory New Force candidate.

“I regard my party as having moved away from me and I feel terribly sad about that.”

, ,

  • Bob Wilson

    2I may be left with no other option than to run as an independent candidate.”
    Mmmm she could just stand down – its not like she has achieved anything politically

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Nice to see an independent minded politician that has the balls to stand up to big boys and big parties.

  • Pete Baker

    “Mmmm she could just stand down”

    Doesn’t sound like she’s considering that particular option, Bob.

  • RepublicanStones

    its not like she has achieved anything politically

    Keeping a foot in Westminister for the UU’s was a bit of an achievement, it seems she doesn’t deserve thanks for that eh?

  • Kevsterino

    She appears to be a principled woman who hasn’t bought into the Con-U alliance.

  • abc123

    Sylvia Hermon should get on with joining Brown’s Labour Party and stand as their candidate in the election. This is the inevitable outcome, so she might as well do it now.

  • Tiny

    Remember speaking at a meeting at Templepatrick in the aftermath of Trimble’s resignation, expressed the view that ‘we’ as a party need to be less democratic and place more responsibility in the hands of whoever was leader, Lady Hermon nodded, seems one rule for us, one for her!

  • Greenflag

    So North Down could have a UCUNF, contender, a DUP contender , a TUV contender and an Independent Unionist sitting MP contender .

    My money would be on the Lady. The fact that she has’nt bought into the Con U Alliance is a recommendation in itself 😉

  • Framer

    The last three MPs for North Down have all been in the UUP and been variously expelled (Bob McCartney) or departed of their own volition when personally thwarted.

    Bob survived only one further election but Kilfedder managed to convince his electorate he was both popular while silently endorsed by Paisley half a dozen times.

    Sylvia as independent will have two ‘moderate’ candidates to her left (UCUNF/Alliance) which rather leaves the door open for a Peter Weir win.

  • alan56

    Imagine she will be out of the UUP very soon. She got little or no support from the executive meeting on Saturday. Will she have enough personal support to be a serious contender in North Down as an independent. Most ‘independent’ ND MPs had at least support from one or other of the bigger beasts of unionism. Could be the end of lady Sylvia’s parliamentary (House of Commons) career.

  • martin r

    The whole of the UK is in such a mess politically, boy is an election way overdue to sort out a lot of stuff.

    And we should have assembly elections on the same day to have a big sort out here as well.

    Let’s face it, that’s why nothing meaningful is happening, everyone is looking to the upcoming ballot box and they think better to do nothing than make a mistake.

  • Scaramoosh

    She will stand as an independent; get supported by the Alliance and be supported by most of the Catholics in North Down.

    She is a great non-sectarian MP, and also one who has done much for the disadvantaged in her community.

    Whilst some parts of North Down may indeed resemble Surrey, the electorate historically like to fall in behind big independent minded candidates.

    Perhaps Sylvia Hermon is Brian Walker’s perfect model of a non-sectarian pro-Union politician.

  • Mrazik

    The Lady’s not for turning! Good on her…

  • iluvni

    13.The Lady’s not for turning up at NI Questions, PMQs or any other debates in the chamber by the looks of it.

    There, Mrazik, fixed it for you.

  • Marcionite

    I did post “UCUNF you want to, the Lady’s not for CUNFing” but I didn’t get any congratulations on my wit.

  • danielmoran

    greenflag msg 8 it looks like the penny has dropped with Reg Empty and the tory pact, that it’s going to fall apart before it has even been tried out. Now, Empey has written in the News letter a day after Sammy Wilson promoted the idea of a UUP/DUP pact, and dismissing it also, so, the sectarian carve up planned for the assembly elections loioks dead in the water already. Nice footwork, Reg.

  • I nominate Lady Sylvia as Woman of the Year. Any seconders?

    If all politicians had a respect for the platform that they stood on, and a determination to stand on their own principles, every parliament would be a lot better for it.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    She gets my respect – its bad enough having to operate in a system that works on the basis of tribal allegiance – but then being told you are going to be one of Camerons’s cronies….

    The whole thing does remind you how primitive our political system is.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well Bob Wilson is right. She never achieved much politically except of course stem the tide of DUP advances. And remind us all that you can be in politics and remain apatently decent person.

  • alan56

    What does Lady Sylvia stand for?

  • Dewi

    Parsley standing for UUP/Con and Hermon for Alliance? That would be delicious irony…

  • Greenflag

    paul evans ,

    ‘If all politicians had a respect for the platform that they stood on, and a determination to stand on their own principles, every parliament would be a lot better for it.’

    Afraid not Paul ,

    First there would never have been an NI Assembly as the DUP are on record for ever and a day as never ever agreeing to share power with SF . But once elected as the biggest Unionist party their ‘principles’ came second place to their ambitions . And the same is basically true of the other parties although none have been so openly crude about their about face:)

  • Greenflag

    oscar the grouch,

    ‘the whole thing does remind you how primitive our political system is.’

    Well perhaps but it’s at least preferable to gunfire and open warfare is’nt it ??

  • Greenflag

    marcionite –

    Congratulations -if you had any more wit you’d be a half- no forget the rest .I’ll give you 8 out of 10. The UCUNFer’s merit a 10 out of 10 for their superb performance in showing the people of Northern Ireland how the leopard does’nt change his spots . Not that they needed any reminder ;)?

  • abc123

    The UUP Conservative link-up is attracting so much Nationalist and Republican scorn that they must be doing something right!

  • mayday

    The North Down electoral problem is a sympton of the current political flux in Northern Ireland. The post conflict era has brought armchair political commentators out in their hordes. We have been living in an era of wishful thinking – a self made belief that all was well with the political class. Lady Slyvia has focused attention on the reality that traditional parties in Northern Ireland are coalitions built around the constitutional issue. Labour, liberal and conservative minded politicians merged in unionist and nationalist parties to either preserve or break the union. Now that the conservatives have joined with the UU there is a distrubance of the traditional politial stability. If Lady Slyvia holds a left wing political position then she cannot in principle contest the election having agreed to take the Tory whip. North Down could become the first constituency where normal politics is played out i.e. fought on political arguments rather than inter party arguments – Labour v Tory/UU. The difficulty is that the electorate may never know if the DUP and Alliance candidates hold conservative or labour views. It will be very confusing and therefore the election will not be about normal politics. The problem is I doubt if the electorate are ready for such a contest.

  • Cynic2

    Greenflag

    We know that you are worried by the fear that Unionism may get its act together. Good…keep worrying.

  • BryanS

    I am afraid I have no respect for Lady H. She was not elected by N Down to support the labour party. I would have respect for her if she now stood as a Labour candidate. That would be honest.

  • mayday

    BryanS

    I agree with you. Lady H should declare her political leanings and fight on labour policies if that is where her thinking lies. The problem with all unionist MP’s is that we don’t know if they support Labour or Conservative policies or if they have any political views other than keeping a nationalist out to preserve the border.

  • Marcionite

    Just like the scorn received during the pan nationalist front days.

    The scorn comes from the fear that a Tory government would not be honest evenhanded brokers in NI if the main and most numerical protagonists are Torie’s themselves.

    This would like the referee wearing the shirt of one the competing teams.

    Dublin can only do so much because at the end of the day, Dublin has no sovereignty here.

    However, no matter who’s in charge or whatever flag we live under, call centre workers still suffer the indignity of being timed on their toilet breaks.

    I sometimes think talk of parity of esteem is really parity of esteem of egotistical politicians. The construct of the nation state is weakening with time, its only a matter of time before Coca Cola, Microsoft, United Fruit etc seek and obtain their own seat at the UN.

    How free are we really? Free to form political parties and voice opinions to Wendy Austin but how many of us actually do those things?

    My partner who’s a nurse, was told that even if attacked by a maniac in a hospital, nurses are only allowed to break their little finger and no more otherwise its a disciplinary matter. How free is she? Doesn’t matter what flag flies over the RVH, its still the same old bull.

    Its not governments who control us but corporations and our employers and our banks. Stormont and Westminster have as much control over our lives as a poodle’s bark.

    This and most threads and most if not all talk in Ireland and other countries is naval gazing. Power does not lie where we think it lies. Paisley and McGuiness were over in NYC telling the world we’re open for business. Open for exploitation, open for low paid, low quality positions in call centres and such like.

    I tell you who is really oppressed here, its the call centre worker, the nurse, the worker who suffers bullyign and indignities at the hands of oppressive employers. Who’s manning the barricades for these people? Gerry Kelly? Jim Allister? Damn the bit of them as my Granddad would have said

  • BryanS [03;50 PM] and mayday 03:53 PM],

    What part of independent do you not understand?

  • BryanS

    scaramooch
    She will stand as an independent; get supported by the Alliance and be supported by most of the Catholics in North Down.

    Isn’t this an amazing wee place? Lady H’s husband would be laughing his head off if he were alive at the irony of republicans endorsing and encouraging people to vote for the wife of a man who they refused to recognise when headed the RUC.
    long live Ulster and our funny little ways.

  • Marcionite

    where a state feels itself in danger, politics rotates around the axis of ProState vs Anti State. Hence where we are. Lets call this Axis 1

    Where a state feels secure in its existance, its politics takes on a more celebral air where sophisticated philosophies of governence take shape and give form to political parties. Let’s call this Axis 2

    Surely if all parties agree on the principle of consent, surely the factor of fear and instability is no longer in place thus rendering current Axis 1 political parties as defunct.

    What will need to happe to usher in Axis 2?

    The Tories should not withdraw, we need a non sectarian force here of the right but without a counterbalance non-sectarian left party standing i.e. Labour, the Torie’s efforts, while laudible, are in vain.

  • Harry J

    #

    Sylvia Hermon should get on with joining Brown’s Labour Party and stand as their candidate in the election. This is the inevitable outcome, so she might as well do it now.
    Posted by abc123 on Jan 26, 2010 @ 01:35 PM
    ……….

    why?shes voted with the tories more times than labour

  • Harry J

    #

    The UUP Conservative link-up is attracting so much Nationalist and Republican scorn that they must be doing something right!
    Posted by abc123 on Jan 26, 2010 @ 03:24 PM

    cant rememeber any nationalist complain about the TOry-UUP link up , but when the Tories talk to teh DUP they cry blue murder

  • Sylvia Hermon has not spent much time at Westminster to be sure, but why should she? her constituency is here.

    A pity she seems to be a Labour supporter I feel sure she would fit in well with F/F.

    Perhaps F/F could get off their backsides and campaign where it matters and give all the people in the north a real choice.

  • Harry J

    A pity she seems to be a Labour supporter I feel sure she would fit in well with F/F……….

    this is a myth Sylvia has voted more times with the tories than with labour!!!

  • BryanS

    Is F/F not one of the more conservative parties in Europe? I dont think it would suit Sylvia.
    who is trying to establish the myth that she voted more often with the Tories than with Labour. get real.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    Why doesn’t Lady Hermon stand as a Progressive Unionist Party candidate in North Down if she’s a left leaning Unionist?

    And with the decommissioning and virtual winding up of the UVF she’ll not be left having to explain their actions like she would have had to in the past.

  • Harry J

    who is trying to establish the myth that she voted more often with the Tories than with Labour. get real.
    Posted by BryanS on Jan 26, 2010 @ 05:20 PM

    Ok bryan tell me how many times she has voted for labour and how many times she has voted for the Tories

    Try getting the facts before talking nonsense

  • Harry J

    Sylvia Hermon VOting Record:

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Lady_Hermon&mpc=North_Down&house=commons&display=allvotes#divisions

    since 2005 sylvia has voted 220 times with the minority (tories) and 110 times with the majority (labour)

  • Framer

    Harry

    She voted with new Labour to bring in identity cards and 90-day detention.

    Nuff said.

  • Harry J

    Framer sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo??? she has still more in common with the Tories than labour and thats a fact

  • granni trixie

    How can APNI support her …surely they have their own candidate? Also, I have most respect for politicans who contribute to Parties policy and development whereas Herman does her own thing preferring (insultingly) to ‘walk the dog’ to attending key Party meetings.

    BTW, did she attend UU meeting last Sat and if not, why not?

  • Framer

    Naw. She is neither Tory or Labour but Sylvia.

    Once elected she chose – as you would in North Down – to do things her way and bugger discipline and the party. (It is also what celebrity candidates do. Beware of them.)

    Doing your own thing is fine for Kate Hoey or Anne Winterton, but if you are the sole MP for your party which is desperately trying to return to life as well as face down nationalism and the DUP, I call it irresponsible.

  • BryanS

    Never mind 2005
    what is her voting record in the last year of an uterly discredited labour party?

  • Harry J

    bryan that is from 2005 to the present day she is a tory girl

  • Greenflag

    cynic2

    ‘We know that you are worried by the fear that Unionism may get its act together. Good…keep worrying.’

    Eh ? Not at all . As I’ve said before there is virtually no political or policy space between the two main Unionist parties and the only perception of difference from a nationalist perspective is that the DUP is traditionally seen as being more anti Irish /fenian /catholic /republican than the UUP . Admittedly the UCUNF brigade have worked wonders these past few months to assure catholics and Irish nationalists and republicans within Northern Ireland that their previous perception of the UUP was somewhat rose tinted . And we have all conveniently disremembered Sir Reg Empey’s flirtation with Bill Craig’s Vanguard back in the time of when men were men and some unionists and loyalists feared not ranting about stuffing taigs into gas ovens etc etc .

    I would contend that having the two main unionist parties unite would under normal circumstances reduce the expedient need for the one /either party to be perceived as more unionist and loyal to her majesty than the other. But then there is of course the TUV moving up on the outside right with all their bluster about bringing back the good old days when taigs could be ignored and their nationality derided .

    Sorry little Jim those days are gone as in gone forever Not coming back -No not ever.

    I look forward to UCUNF being annihalated in the coming election assuming they survive party intacto until then !

    In the meantime it’s holding hands time for Gordon and Brian as they both once again have to walk the walk in the garden of make believe and with Peter and Martin . Are there any adult politicians left in NI ?

    jayzus wept:(

  • Greenflag

    Framer ,

    ”but if you are the sole MP for your party which is desperately trying to return to life’

    Then the last thing such a party ought to do is to ‘dump’ their only remaining MP .

    When a mouse wants to survive and propagate it’s species it’s not a good strategy to mate with an elephant . The ensuing consummation of the relationship will result in a squashed mouse, and an elephant so disappointed in the mouse’s conjugal performance that what’s left of the mouse will be trampled underfoot as said elephant moves along to more promising partners 😉

  • There are precious few grown up voters I know that.

    I still say she would do well in F/F name one other party, that when it comes to pissing tax payers money up the wall, beats UK Labour.

  • BryanS

    Cheers folks nothing new here
    way past my sleep time
    Tuck me up matron please

  • JD

    “Sylvia Hermon should get on with joining Brown’s Labour Party and stand as their candidate in the election. This is the inevitable outcome, so she might as well do it now. ”

    If you are going to develop Labour in Northern Ireland North Down is not the place to start – it’s like a Tory V Liberal constituency in the South of England. Sylvia might well be New Labour but she is not going to attach the “New Labour” tag that might well push away nice middle class voters looking for a change of government. “Independent” is much easier allowing her to cast her net as wide as possible.

    Northern Ireland is not going to turn Tory, Liberal, Labour, but elements of “Governmental” or “National” politics are emerging

    1) LIBERAL
    Some of you might be thinking a Lib Dem/Alliance merger. Consider the words of Brian Lenihan TD the Fianna Fail Minister for Finance when replying to Labour’s charge in the Dail that he was a Celtic Tory saying “Our allies in the United Kingdom are the Liberal Party. That is where our allegiance lies in the UK. They have a great record in relation to this country.”

    The new SDLP Deputy Leader Patsy McGlone is only on record in the last 18 months saying:

    ‘‘On a personal level, it is a widely-held view of many of us in the SDLP that the natural alliance is with Fianna Fáil. Quite clearly, Fianna Fáil is representative of the same body, socially and economically as ourselves”.

    Patsy is Alasdair McDonnell’s key backer in the SDLP parliamentary party. Expect the SDLP to get a name change and become Fianna Fail’s sister party when Big Al becomes leader – they want to team up for the 2014 Euro election to win an MEP seat and get a bit of help in any future local elections. Alliance can muddle on as they are, but it won’t just be the Tories cramping their style.

    2) LABOUR
    The two Labour Parties (Irish & British) are deeply reluctant entrants on the NI political scene. Both now have membership forums here. British Labour due to a court case taken against them, Irish Labour due to the Northern Ireland members of Democratic Left they inherited when they merged in 1999. Both still hide behind the SDLP “sister party excuse” to keep NI at arms length.

    The SDLP “sister party excuse” will most likely be stripped away from the two Labour Parties very soon. Neither has any enthusiasm for the NI political scene. For the ex Workers Party lead Irish Labour Party Nationalism is an anathema and if the get SDLP defectors they’ll look to link their own organisation to the British Labour Party. For the British Labour Party they traditionally considered Ireland a matter for the Irish Labour Party and later the SDLP. With no SDLP they’ll happily do a deal with Irish Labour. Both would be happy to jointly sponsor a Labour organisation ploughing the narrow furrow that is the centre-left of the “United Community” section of the electorate.

    3) CONSERVATIVE
    There’s no shortage of Conservatives in Northern Ireland – Orange & Green. The only question is how many parties do they need?

    The DUP & UUP need to form a bigger party than Sinn Fein in Stormont – so that will allow for some rationalisation of conservative parties.

    Fianna Fail although nominally in the Liberal camp has received much admiration from the Tory right with Brian Lenihan’s “tough” budgets. A realigned SDLP tied Fianna Fail would make a happy partner for a new Conservative & Unionist Party in Stormont.

    4)THE REST
    The question for Sinn Fein is – do will sit with a future Fianna Fail/Tory Executive in Stormont or on the opposition benches with United Community Labour, Alliance and Green MLAs? Either way it is a far cry from 2016 and a United Ireland.

    I didn’t forget about the TUV, but I thought it would be harsh on the Conservatives to include those nut jobs in the mix.

  • Kevin Breslin

    JD I didn’t realise that the “former SDLP led” Foyle and South Down were pro Tory Fianna Fail leaning constituencies, they certainly haven’t been UU-Tory seats since the days of gerrymandering. Any SDLP merger now with a Fianna Fail (and I leave the fada off deliberately) party now would probably hasten a poll anihilation by Provisional Sinn Féin. Fianna Fail is a small party in Northern Ireland just like the Tory wing of UCUNF. I expect regionalism to destroy UCUNF and Fianna Fail-SDLP pacts and talks of mergers for a long term.