Lady Hermon resigns from UUP for independent candidate status

MP for North Down, Sylvia Hermon, has resigned from the UUP and declared herself as an independent candidate in the forthcoming General Election. The DUP have yet to react… From the BBC report

Lady Hermon said she felt “profound sadness” at leaving the party. “I have taken a considerable amount of time to think and to reflect before coming to this decision, but I believe it to be the right one for the Party and for me,” she said. “The tremendous support I have received from constituents during the recent stressful and difficult time in my political life has encouraged me greatly, and convinced me that I ought to run again as a candidate.”

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  • abc123

    So she doesn’t have the courage to stand as an official Labour Party candidate?

  • Rory Carr

    Whatever glee I might find at the discomfiture of the Ulster Unionists caused by Lady Hermon’s decision is muted by my general distaste for independent candidates who I tend to view as little more than self-promoting egotists.

    There are of course exceptions to this rule as, for example, when a local physician has chosen to run against uncaring party appartchniks as a part of a campaign to prevent constituency hospital closure or, closer to home, in the cases of Frank Maguire, Bernadette Devlin, Bobby Sands and Owen McCarron in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, where they stood as representatives of wider community concerns.

    I am yet to be convinced that Lady Hermon has any unique perspective to offer voters in her own constituency that would not be reflected by the candidates from the organised parties.

    But no doubt that is precisely the quality that she will now attempt to convince the voters that she has in spades.

    While I do not wish her good fortune in her attempt, neither do I wish her ill, but, really, I do feel that she should simply retire from the field.

  • cynic47

    Rory

    Have you a chip on your shoulder? Has an Independent put one over on you? Are the parties not full of self promoting egotists? Why should she retire from the field?

    ABC123

    Why Labour?? Is your vision so narrow that you actually think that someone who has issues with the Tories is in fact a Labourite?

    The Lady has chosen what can be a lonely road by fighting an election without the benefit of a party machine( in the case of the Conservatives and UUP…Ha Ha!). That said if she sat at home until the week after the election she will still be the MP for North Down.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “That said if she sat at home until the week after the election she will still be the MP for North Down”
    Well if they were happy enough with her doing that most of the last 5 years why change I guess.
    Does anyone know what the rules are, like can she stand as “Independant Unionist” or does its just have to be “independant” without being a Unionist.

  • Mark McGregor

    Has to be Independent or nothing unless she sets up a party before nominations.

  • cynic47

    Drumlin

    What evidence do you have to make such a libelious suggestion that she doesn’t carry out her duties? Get down to the bookies before her 1/11 odds shorten.

    The only designation allowed on a ballot paper is a party name or Independent. She could form and register a new party and as long as its name has not already been registered she could then enter that on the ballot paper as well as an approved logo.

  • cushy glenn

    “Popular Unionist”?

  • “What evidence do you have to make such a libelious suggestion that she doesn’t carry out her duties?”

    From They (don’t)Work for You:
    http://tinyurl.com/ybekwqj

    “Has spoken in 3 debates in the last year — well below average amongst MPs”

    Although to be fair there has been a sudden burst of activity at Westminster on her part this week, can’t think why…

  • Rory Carr

    No, Cynic my low regard for Independent candidates is not based on any personal animus and, yes, I agree that the estabished parties are well supplied with self-serving careerists.

    It remains however a possibility (if an exceedingly slim one these days, more honoured in the breach) that such people can either be reined in by the party structure or indeed have their energies directed in useful ways that are agreeable to the general will of a particular party as determined by its membership. No such discipline is available for the most part with Independents.

    Drumolin’s Rock,

    She can of course stand as an “Independent Unionist” or an “Independent Republican” or indeed, “Independent Martian” if she so chooses, just so long as she does not run under the banner of a party name that is already registered and for which she is not the approved candidate.

  • cynic47

    Rory

    And there was me thinking that the ballot box was the ultimate discipline! Silly me for not being able to understand this democracy thing! Do you feel then that the public interest is better served by people being elected who can be made to toe the party line? Lord Morrow and his Assembly lifetime springs to mind.

  • cynic47

    Oneill

    So you vote for the person who has spoken in the most debates as opposed to who has represented their constituents the best? Google has a lot to answer for.

  • Paul

    not sure what to make of Hermon i think she has acted in bad faith all along.she used to demand loyalty from others yet she has being one of the most dis loyal party members in recent history.Now she seems hell bent on taking the seat away from the party.strange

  • Greenflag

    Congrats to Lady Sylvia for refusing to take the Tory ‘shilling’ and the best of luck . I’m sure she’ll pick up some ‘nationalist’ votes despite her ‘unionist’ convictions .

    North Down Unionist should be a good enough moniker to assure her reelection.

    No harm at all to have independents in the house . They can help to raise issues that otherwise would be drowned in party political consensus . Dubliners recall Tony Gregory’s masterful use of his ‘independent ‘ status to get much needed and long overdue redevelopment for parts of the inner city .

    Admittedly North Down /Gold Coast will have other pre occupations than urban renewal but I’ve no idea what they might be . Sectarian ‘nastiness’ seems to be generally absent from the region which in itself is a good enough reason for reelecting the sitting member . The fact that it means the Tories will be minus one from the UCUNF shower is a bonus although unlikely to be significant .

  • daisy

    If I was in North Down I’d vote for her. Good luck to her. I think she’ll do a good job as an Independent.

  • Cynic2

    “little more than self-promoting egotists”

    ….. that’s what I call chutzpah Rory

  • granni trixie

    What we need most in NI is people who can work with other people HERE, this includes Westminster reps. If Herman cannot work with people within NI but only with herself alone,whats the probability she will work in the interests of the people of NI?

    Boy will it help me if it turns out that having a party machine around you makes no difference to the outcome (can give up delivering delivering leaflets,surveys,canvassing etc).

  • LabourNIman

    Independants are only good when they actually stand for something.. Sadly its not the case with Hermon. This is a pure ego move by an MP that has a bog standard record at best. It will be interesting to see if she can muster many supporters to go door to door for her.

  • oneill @ 12:09 PM:

    Don’t get too het up about

    “Has spoken in 3 debates in the last year — well below average amongst MPs”

    The Commons has still not rid itself of a hierarchical past. Front Benchers get first bite. Privy Counsellors take priority over rank-and-file backbenchers. Then its a matter of “catching the Speaker’s eye”, which means Mr Speaker has to balance any debate, for or against.

    A sole voice (in this case, Lady Hermon) is likely to be elbowed aside by the main parties. In addition to which she has, wisely, confined herself to specific topics: policing and youth offenders, PSNI, care for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Rather that than the loose mouths others adopt.

  • So you vote for the person who has spoken in the most debates as opposed to who has represented their constituents the best?

    Cynic

    If I vote for someone to represent me at Westminster, I would expect them to pop over there the odd time, yes.

    I got my info from “They Work for You” , which provides me with an objective measurement of an MP’s attendance, number of debates participated in etc. If you can provide a similar objective measurement of how someone has “represented their constituents the best” then I’d be interested to see it.

    Malcolm,

    If you check out here attendance record over the last year or so, it is also none too stellar. She does have to be in the actual place before she has the opportunity of being elbowed aside in debates.

  • Alan

    O’Neil,

    You should also consider her committee work ( which TWFY do cover ) and general influence, which is very high with the government ( and less so presumably with the opposition now).

    Participation in debate is the weakest measurement of all in terms of success in parliament, particularly as the timetable is by and large set by HMG in order to pass English legislation.

  • Militant Mike

    well if she promises Holywood a swimming pool then even i might consider voting for her.

  • Magoo

    Daisy, well I am in North Down and I will vote for her. She’s a good constituency MP and one of the more honest and straight talking type. Her own politics really couldn’t allow her to be linked to the torries. I just hope she can be persuaded to join Labour when they get themselves up to speed.

  • sdelaneys

    Rory, post 2

    “in the cases of Frank Maguire, Bernadette Devlin, Bobby Sands and Owen McCarron in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, where they stood as representatives of wider community concerns.”

    That’s an interesting line up but wasn’t there a man called Owen Carron too? I can’t remember the McCarron boyo at all.

  • PaddyReilly

    So now we know. 11 to 1? Boys o boys, I’d give her 11 to 10. I wonder will Alliance be standing aside for her. Poor old Parsley features will be as sick as a parrot, so he will. He still has the Conservative think tank job but. He hasn’t been totally stuffed for jumping ship.

  • alan56

    Will she have the official backing of the DUP and will they be putting the party machine behind her?

  • @ alan56

    That’s the really interesting question – I wonder are UUP hoping that the DUP will do their dirty work for them and take the seat from her.

    Whilst it would be nice to see the very able Peter Weir (for example) taking the seat for the DUP it would also be nice to see Lady Hermon hang on despite the UUP link going

    So……. do we think the DUP will step aside in the interests of unity?

  • Impartial Reporter

    DUP will not be standing.

  • cynic47

    Paddy

    For clarification….11 to 1 on. £1 to win eleven! As regards the DUP not standing. In fairness to them they have their ears close to the ground in North Down and they know the certainty of the result in favour of the Lady. They are saving their money for the next Assembly elections and have calculated that they could suffer an electoral set back in the Westminster campaign in what will be a very polarised North Down contest. Better to go into the Assembly elections on the back of previous successes. IJP will suffer another dose of defeat. Where will he go next? I hear rumblings that the consequences of his outspoken comments on P&J will wait until after the election but his lack of an ability to keep his mouth zipped occasionaly will come back to haunt him.

  • alan56

    So Lady Sylvia spurns link with Conservatives who are too right of centre only to have an agreement for support and backing from the liberal socialists of the DUP? This place never ceases to amaze!!!!

  • cynic47

    Granni

    Made little difference to APNI having an election machine in the Europeans. Why don’t all you betrayed suckers who knocked your pan in for your candidate in that election come down and help the Lady to really put the boot in!

  • cynic47

    alan56

    What have you heard about any formal or indeed informal deal between the Lady and the DUP? Share!!

  • PaddyReilly

    £1 to win eleven!

    Yes, that’s what I thought. And I would expect that the odds will shorten to £10 to win £11.

  • cynic47

    Paddy

    Sorry I’m not a gambler. My comments should have read eleven pound to win one.

  • alan56

    C47
    I cannot give you a name but it is from someone who ought to know.

  • “Participation in debate is the weakest measurement of all in terms of success in parliament, particularly as the timetable is by and large set by HMG in order to pass English legislation.”

    Alan,

    OK, try then:

    “Has voted in 26% of votes in parliament with this affiliation — well below average amongst MPs. (From Public Whip)”

    With the obvious exception of the Shinners, that’s even below average for N.Irish MPs (Dodd’s is on nearly double that for crying out loud) Re “influence” with Labour, again, as with “representing her constituents the best”, very hard to quantify.

    But, it’ll be up to the electorate, not me or the rest of the self-appointed Slugger Cognoscenti to give their judgement whenever the GE takes place. Just wish she’d had the strength of her convictions and we could have had a real UK, Labour v Conservative contest in at least one N.irish constituency.

    BTW, anyone taking the 1/11 odds seriously?
    I’m sure she isn’t.

  • Cynic 47

    “For clarification….11 to 1 on. £1 to win eleven!”

    Where did you get those figures from? Just had a quick check round the usual suspects online, not a whisper of odds being offered yet on North Down.

  • Framer

    This will give Ian Parsley a fighting chance of winning the seat as there all sorts of cross-currents in North Down. Many thousands of DUP voters won’t easily cross to an independent candidate who favours Gordon Brown.

    Nor will they be that pleased they can’t back Peter Weir, a public representative and MLA who does turn up to the legislature he is elected to.

    Not standing seems an odd way for the DUP to get one over the traditional enemy nationalism, – no sorry the UUP.

  • R.

    I too would want her to join ‘Labour in Northern Ireland’ as I believe she is at heart more in favour of social and anti-sectarian progress than the Tory agenda. It’s got to be one way or the other for the future of N.I. and you know from this which I would wish for (and vote for).
    AtB
    R.

  • slug

    If she joined Labour and stood on that platform of taking Labour whip I would vote for her, as I prefer Labour to Conservative.

  • Harry J

    This will give Ian Parsley a fighting chance of winning the seat as there all sorts of cross-currents in North Down.,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    LOL

  • Harry J

    sylvia could go on holiday and come back one day before polling and still win the seat. Ian Parsley will be punished and punished well

  • interested

    I have to state as a DUP voter in ND I hope the party will not stand aside for the Lady, to do so would mean that many like myself will have no one to vote for this is our real chance to win the seat.

  • Harry J

    #

    I have to state as a DUP voter in ND I hope the party will not stand aside for the Lady, to do so would mean that many like myself will have no one to vote for this is our real chance to win the seat.
    Posted by interested on Mar 25, 2010 @ 07:20 PM

    or to show that its time for unionists to work together and show clearly the only party saying no to this is the UUP

  • I am still an Anti-Belfast – Agreement Unionist (the last one I think!) but I cannot understand the UUP position on Policing and Justice (P&J). Given everything else they gave away on that fateful Good Friday why posture at this stage? Trying to tie in academic selection (a method of schooling which I agree with)with P&J seemed wholly bizarre.

    I can only think that the UUP thought that they might win a few votes from the DUP and TUV folk who wanted to kick Peter Robinson’s backside – looking around at the situation that now exists I can only surmise that was a massive misjudgement on their part. Say what you will about Peter Robinson (and I do sometimes) he is very good “tactically”

    North Down is interesting – I wonder should the DUP give Sylvia Hermon a clear run and let her wipe the floor with the UUP/Conservative candidate – As I said above I judge (perhaps wrongly) that the UUP leadership are hoping that the DUP will do their dirty work for them and take the seat from Lady Hermon. It would be nice to see the very able Peter Weir (for example) as MP for North Down but much more fun to see the UUP try to unseat the rather principled Sylvia!…

    Can I play some fantasy football (politics)?

    My personal preference would be to see an agreed candidate in each constituency particularly in the two key marginals (Fermanagh/South Tyrone and South Belfast). A DUP member in both South Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone seems about right to me. FST is traditionally stronger territory for the UUP (Harry West, Ken Maginnis et al) but Arlene Foster seems a perfect fit to me. South Belfast was (during my lifetime) a UUP seat for Rev. Smith but again I just can’t see Paula Bradshaw unseating Alasdair McDonnell

    The DUP may need to consider their position in a couple of seats however to make that work; will Peter Robinson stand down in East Belfast (there was talk of that previously in order to end his double jobbing), if he did is it possible for the joint candidate to be an Ulster Unionist? It’s a pity the UUP have picked a “celebrity” as their candidate – as much as I admired Trevor Ringland’s prowess on the rugby field!!

    Again, more bizarreness from the UUP in Strangford, picking former television presenter Mike Nesbitt as their candidate – apart from his selection I would have liked to see the DUP leaving this one to the UUP, I personally think that this would facilitate some “healing” inside the Unionist family given the Iris Robinson scandal that has just passed.

    That would leave us with a likely 4 UUP and 8 DUP members which, speaking as an outsider who knows nothing, seems about right in the current climate. Please don’t pour too much vitriol on me, it’s been a long time since I have publicly given a view on NI politics.

  • Comrade Stalin

    interested:

    I have to state as a DUP voter in ND I hope the party will not stand aside for the Lady, to do so would mean that many like myself will have no one to vote for this is our real chance to win the seat.

    Aye, your ballix. The DUP have run this seat once in their entire existence, I don’t think they’ve ever taken a serious run at it.

  • Harry J

    I don’t think they’ve ever taken a serious run at it.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Mar 25, 2010 @ 08:21 PM

    DUP share of the vote in Assembly, Council and Westminster is 35%

    UUP 24% (Council Assembly)

    Tory 2%

    Hermon 50% (UUP Westminster)

  • interested

    Harry

    or to show that its time for unionists to work together and show clearly the only party saying no to this is the UUP

    Hermon hates the DUP and has always attacked them, this is not about unity in a safe Unionist seat and all I am saying is that she is not a Unionist that I can support.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This seat’s always been a weird one. As I said, the DUP have never really run in the seat and I suspect they won’t have much of a local organization. Standing aside allows them to have their activists focus on the places where they may be in trouble, such as East Belfast, North Antrim and Strangford.

    Sylvia’s problem is that she won’t have much of a local organization. Then again, Bob McCartney won the seat without having a stack of people organized, although he did benefit from extremely favourable Belfast Telegraph coverage. The Tele did a hit-job on Parsley shortly after he defected which suggests that IJP won’t be holding out for favourable treatment from them, instead he’s trying to persuade the UUP types that he’s really their friend, despite being on record as not being a Unionist, and apparently even though he is unwilling to actually join their party.

    Things would get really interesting if Farry stood aside and urged everyone to vote for Sylvia. The mood inside Alliance is one of being somewhat sick of stepping aside and telling people to vote for someone else, so I doubt it will actually happen.

  • Comrade Stalin

    harry, not very safe to compare councils, assembly and westminster in that way. North Down’s MPs have traditionally been off the beaten track, so the party badge they are wearing has apparently never been much of a factor in their success.

  • Harry J

    Hermon hates the DUP and has always attacked them, this is not about unity in a safe Unionist seat and all I am saying is that she is not a Unionist that I can support.
    Posted by interested on Mar 25, 2010 @ 08:34 PM

    Surely this is the perfect example of what Unionists can do, even with past differnces

  • Harry J

    North Down’s MPs have traditionally been off the beaten track, so the party badge they are wearing has apparently never been much of a factor in their success.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Mar 25, 2010 @ 08:48 PM

    But there is no way sylvia , on her own, is going to get 50% . I say she will top 40% and the UUP 20%

  • interested

    Hermon is not a team player.

  • cynic47

    Farry will not need to tell his faithful to vote for the Lady. Its not only the folk who walked the streets for Mr Parsley during the Euro election who feel sore and betrayed but I would suspect that those who give him the huge privilege of a vote will feel equally angry.

  • cynic47

    Interested

    I know you will be delighted to hear my assessment that this election will see the demise of the UUP in North Down. Should be easier to hold the two DUP Assembly seats. I think that there has been a nervousness that one could be lost as a result of recent difficulties.

  • LabourNIman

    Hermon standing is a joke.. what platform will she stand on. the ‘I’m a part time MP but thats ok for NI’ or the ‘I’m the best choice of a bad bunch’?

    Theres times I wish Bob McCartney would come back and stand in ND. That would liven the place up.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bob McCartney’s attendance records weren’t stellar either. NI MPs in general don’t do well on that front.

  • cynic47

    Labourman

    Whats your problem? Explain why you think its a joke that the Lady is standing? The 20,000+ North Down people who will be voting for her will give their verdict on your throw away line about her being part time. Are you a very disgruntled member of the UUP? You sure sound like it. By the way I expect her to stand on a Unionist platform. The TUV, DUP and UUP don’t have copyright of Unionism and anyone who supports the Union is at liberty to so describe themselves.

  • alan56

    C47
    Are the DUP going to support her… what do you think?

  • granni trixie

    Comrade Stalin 23:
    Gottcha there -its not just “the mood inside Alliance” which gives you “doubt it will really happen”, but the current policy of APNI firmly against Farry standing aside for Herman, which ensures it will not happen.

  • cynic47

    alan56

    I think that if they don’t put up a candidate in ND their activists will be usefully employed working for their own candidates around the countryside rather than knocking doors for the Lady. My earlier post explains why I think they might be minded to stand aside and the motivation for such a decision.

  • nojo83

    I live in North Down.

    Lady Hermon is an excellent constituency MP.

    She talks and listens to constituents. She answers letters and emails. She actively does what she can. Her office staff are approachable and efficient. Lady Hermon is not a career politician.

    I personally know of instances were her intervention has helped people solve real life problems.

    Lady Hermon works hard for her constituents. She is a woman who stands by her principles.

    Those who bitch and seek political gain by whinging about her attendance record at Westminster should remember that this is an MP who continued working for her constituents throughout her husband’s illness and death. They should remember that this is an MP who is genuine and who actually achieves results on the ground.

  • the lone ranger

    isnt it wonderfull folks. to hear unionism debate and debate. just been on the dup petition on their website and seen for myself the groundswell vocal support for unionist unity (thats if you believe the dup leadership) the petition has been signed by a whoping 120 people. (most of them dup mlas and activists) the bottom line for unionism is this that at the next local elections and the dup are aware of this a party who have split unionism from its foundations and this was the beginning of a slow painfull end for it (unionism), is that all it takes is jim allister to take 10% or less from the dup vote who at the last locals were 15,000 ahead of sinn fein for enter first minister martin mcguiness. (oh the irony of it!!) united we stand divided we fall. unionism has been divided for a generation. not just politically even the churches. (how many different protestant denominations?) it was torn apart until politically and theologically we hate each other with a passion. when mr paisley and co split the unionist family its been decay after decay and a house divided cannot stand. so we can talk about sylvia shes irrelevant ipj jim allister mr mcguiness will be on everyones lips come the next local elections. all on your watch as well peter .

  • Cynic 47,

    It wasn’t that hard a question I asked you:

    “For clarification….11 to 1 on. £1 to win eleven!”

    Where did you get those figures from? Just had a quick check round the usual suspects online, not a whisper of odds being offered yet on North Down

    Did you pull that 1/11 off the top of your head or from the DUPravda?

    If she’s indeed 1/11, that should make Parsley what 8/1 plus? I need to know, there’s a few bob in my pocket worth risking on a 2 horse race there… if that’s the case.

  • bohereen

    I was thinking of Bob McCartney wistfully. At least there was a bit of wit.

    Saintly Sylvia was certainly cosying up to the DUP MPs in the Commons this week. It was all in the body language.

  • cynic47

    Oneill

    You should be able to get 100/1 on Parsley. It wouldn’t be wise use of a quid unless you want to help keep the bookies in the style that they are used to!

  • You haven’t answered my question Cynic47.
    Where exactly is Lady H being offered at 1/11?

    Would it be cynical of me to think you made it up;)

  • homerun

    With DUP support in North Down, will Lady Sylvia Eileen, Lady Hermon (née Paisley)(ref: wikipedia) be finding the warmth of a new political family?

  • cynic47

    Oneill

    A wee man that I know who takes bets on the street corner. Couldn’t possibly divulge his name for fear of dropping him in it. Are you interested in getting some money on the contest? I’m sure that any bookie around will take your money. Let me know if you can get more generous odds than 1/11 on Hermon. I reckon my wee man has got it about right. Don’t gamble myself.

  • Cynic47

    Ah right, a wee man on the corner told you…you should follow Sammy’s advice and give those wee men a wide berth:)

    http://tinyurl.com/ydolg9c

  • cynic47

    Oneill

    The wee man I know who takes bets is a bean pole and not a bit fat. lol.