“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.”