The Irish News has named what a DUP source has claimed to be the membership of the Dissenting Fourteen DUP MLAs (below the fold) as the DUP’s descent into turmoil continues apace. Henceforward these fourteen shall be known as the ‘Community MLAs’ as, clearly, they collectively personify the true community which has required confidence all along.
As Peter Robinson heads into his Trimblesque ‘back me or sack me’ showdown, it is clear the party has backed itself into a corner with equally unattractive options. Either the party falls in behind the incumbent leader and humbly accepts a deal it has very publicly already rejected (and possibly losing several MLAs to the TUV), or it delivers a thundering No to the gathering consensus, sheds its wounded leader and heads into a brace of late Spring electoral showdowns which could radically alter the balance of power within unionism.
The decision of the now more than a dozen DUP apostles will likely be influenced by an assessment of damage not only inflicted upon the party from the fallout to date from Irisgate, but also from continuing revelations regarding surprising planning decisions in the east Belfast area (more on that on the front page of the Irish News today.)
According to the Irish News, these are the Fourteen: