Conservative/ulster unionist link to continue.

A senior Conservative close to the leadership in London has rubbished suggestions that the marriage with the Ulster Unionists is being dissolved.

There are reports that Conservatives in Northern Ireland by a sizeable majority want to walk away from the relationship with Reg Empey’s team.

It is now know that the leadership of the Ulster Unionist party was accessed in the past twenty four hours to the contents of a private letter from the Conservative cross party chairman Andy Feldman advising local Conservatives that there are no plans to undo the pact with Ulster Unionists.

A change in leadership at the top of UUP could change all that since it takes two to tango. Tom Elliott who has declared his intention to contest the leadership was central to finding a unity unionist candidate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone in the Westminster election.

The senior Tory close to the leadership emphatically stated “the conservative party has no intention of breaking the link with the UUPs.”
Eamonn Mallie

  • alan56

    Need to hear more from Ken Reid. Strange to see this story spin two seperate directions. Will NI Conservatives be supporting UUP candidates fro Assembly elections?

  • Perhaps they might be better placed sorting out their stall in the run up to the next assembly elections rather than worrying about their rush in and rush out again bride

  • Hard hat

    “no intention of breaking the link with the UUPs”. Perhaps if the electorate were clear on what the link is or what value it offers locally, they could decide whether or not to care. As long as the link and reasons for it remain tenuous and UCUNF (!!) is prepared to put forward candidates to run against Conservatives and vice versa, the whole exercise will continue to be a mysterious farce.

  • alan56

    That will be the challenge for Elliot or McCrea or….? It does seem though that Conservatives will not stand against UUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m delighted to hear that this farcial linkup is continuing, as the only thing that it will secure destruction of the Ulster Unionist Party.

  • Wasted Ballot

    well, lets be honest it’s the only chance the Tories have of ever getting a elected representative in the assembly so I’m sure they are very keen!

  • The Raven

    ….leaving the lovely DUP to represent “unionism”, and half the population. Great. That’s just fab.

    Because as we’ve already seen in *some* constituencies, the great unwashed of unionism already feel disenfranchised enough not to turn out. Having one “unionist” party really makes for good representation (I use the word loosely).

  • Mike

    Funny how you never slaver over the “destruction” of any other party, Comrade.

    Anyways…if this link is going to continue, it needs to be done right. Clear, single branding, drop the daft UCUNF moniker, choose good candidates and choose them early, stop slipping back into culturalism/communalism.

  • Seems to me that the DUP effort should be concentrated in electioneering for the SDLP!

  • elvis parker

    A senior but nameless Conservative I note!

  • elvis parker

    Apparently the letter is actually a thinly veiled threat from the Conservatives that if UUP do not play ball with the Conservatives they will break the link and oppose them.
    Apparently the Conservatives are incensed by UUP pushing ahead without consulting them

  • A N Other

    One wonders how well Cameron’s assertion (both correct and laudable) will play with his Daily Mail reading Unionist pals…?

  • A N Other

    Sorry; his asserion that Gaza is a prison camp…

  • what next

    I don’t think you are right on any count here Elvis.

    The pact between Conservatives and UUP was only ever for the European and Westminster elections.

    The letter you are talking about was sent to NI Conservatives telling them that they would not be allowed to stand against UUP candidates in the Assembly elections.

    This is a non-story as everything that has been ‘made public’ was already public knowledge 2 years ago.

  • Neil McNickle

    Originally the deal between the Conservative party and the UUP was to cover only Euro & Westminister elections, if Assembly elections have now been added then its a strengthening of the pact.
    In the long term this will prove good for both the UUP and Northern Irish politics in general as its at least an effort to end the petty tribalism that so dominates the local political stage, however as with most new projects there are always teething problems.
    The UCUNF name has to go as I don’t think I have ever heard a worse name for a party.
    Second, the UUP need to be much quicker out of the blocks next time round.
    Finally avoid slipping back into the past, doing the bidding of the Orange institutions, if the party really want to end up sectarianism of Irish politics then bringing the troops back onto the street certainly shouldn’t be a campaign pledge.
    I hope the DUP are enjoying their moment in the sun as I predict dark days ahead for those who campaign solely on the politics of fear.

  • Loyal

    Ooops, looks like Jonathan Caine has won the prize for the first Special Adviser to drop their boss right into it! Apparently the letter he drafted for the Party Chairman does suggest the Conservatives might not run in the Assembly elections and instead back the UUP.

    This leaves Owen Paterson in a real dilemma.

    Many people were hugely sceptical about the whole link up between the Conservatives and the UUP. The Irish Government, the Obama administration and the EU feared the Conservatives would be seen as aligning themselves with one section of the community. The NIO were deeply anxious.

    Their fears were heightened by Paterson’s crass mistake over Hatfield, the Schomburg talks and the disastrous candidate selection saga – esp in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
    The Hillary Clinton camp will be closely reading their briefing from Peter McKitterick at the Belfast Consulate and the Irish Govt will be going into meltdown when Sarah McGrath gets her hands on this letter. Then the will discretely restart their efforts to have Paterson removed.

    Paterson has two options:

    1. Distance himself from this letter and his Special Adviser (after all he broke the Giudelines pertained to Special Advisers and Civil Servants in drafting it);
    2. Kiss goodbye to his political career.

  • alan56


    Obvious what you would like to see happen but don’t hold your breath. Peter and Sarah dont run the show…yet!

  • slug

    I think its going to be a long term relationship.

  • Its being confirmed by CCHQ that the NI Conservatives will not be allowed stand against Ulster Unionist Party candidates in next years assembly elections that’s what this is all about.

  • English Republic

    It would appear that the CONservative party are willing to alienate the people of the country which put them into power in their vain attempts to keep alive the outdated union to which they cling. Their negligence of the people of England will be their undoing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Funny how you never slaver over the “destruction” of any other party, Comrade.

    That’s because there’s only one party which is a complete and total waste of space and which is completely incapable of constructive politics.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The idea that the Irish Government or even the US State Department are able to dictate to the British who they may or may not appoint to a ministerial position is highly amusing. The underlying idea here that NI really figures highly enough in USA or UK government thinking that they are willing to have a major row of it is symptomatic of a problem a lot of us have here – an overinflated sense of our own importance.

    Patterson’s action was stupid and potentially damaging, but it’s hardly a career-killer.

  • loyal

    Jonathan Caine is clearly in breach of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers:

    6. Special advisers should not use official resources for party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited. They should act in a way which upholds the political impartiality of civil servants and does not conflict with the Civil Service Code. They should avoid anything which might reasonably lead to the criticism that people paid from public funds are being used for party political purposes.

  • alan56

    Any breach of code for special advisors is surely to be policed by Cabinet Secretary if indeed a breach has taken place.

  • Joseph Addison

    I have it on good authority that Cain’s Mark is at the bottom of the chain. It would appear that this is a real royal cock up.

  • Reality check required – 100k votes says you’re wrong.

    As for the Alliance party that you ‘nominally’ appear to support, well let’s adopt a wait and see attitude to find out if you can break out of your unionist protest vote electorate shall we?

  • sad.

  • Agreed Mike. And what of the candidates from the last elections? I would hope they’re committed to securing assembly seats and work from that base.

  • exactly. Eamonn Mallie…

  • Taken with his comments on Turkey progression in the EU, I think it highlights the fact that Cameron is basically a good lad and what you see is what you get.

    I like him so far. Nice to see a bit of honesty in Foreign Affairs for once don’t you think?

  • Nuts.

  • you keep taking those drugs.

  • How do you not actually stand against a single party?

    I presume this means they won’t be standing at all seeing as the UUP will be present in all NI constituencies?

  • is there a point to that or do you have a predilection for pointing out rules at random?

  • elvis parker

    Oh dear Caine’s problems are mounting. Members of the Conservative Party Board are angry that the recently appointed Chairman Mr Feldman did not consulted them on the idea that they would not field candidates in the Assembly elections.
    Indeed there are concerns such a move would breach the Party’s constitution. GB based Party democracy candidates are apparently planning legal action!
    Mr Feldman must rue the day he decided simply to sign Mr Caine’s letter! He’ll be pining to return to the rag trade soon!

  • elvis parker

    ‘The senior Tory close to the leadership’ or perhaps soon to be ‘the former senior adviser who tried to mislead the leadership’

    see also

  • john hunter gowan

    Given that Elliott and McCrea have ruled out continuing links with the Conservatives Mr Feldman looks slightly foolish.