North Down Conservative Ian Parsley has announced his second resignation from a political party inside 14 months. Using his blog this evening to deliver this lengthy resignation letter, Parsley states:
I notified the North Down Conservative Association of my intention to resign as a member Saturday week ago, effective from midnight the following Thursday. I have long sought the most effective vehicle to pursue and deliver effective mainstream, non-sectarian and responsible politics in Northern Ireland. Despite best intentions, the Conservatives lack the political space and capacity to deliver this.
Parsley goes on to accuse the Tories of “squandering” the opportunity to break into Northern Ireland and says:
The Conservatives should long ago have been honest that they could not afford to take the serious political action required to seek an electoral mandate in NI given the current political and economic situation here; they should also have recognised months ago that the new Ulster Unionist Party lacks any commitment to the “mainstream, non-sectarian” politics to which the Secretary of State has rightly committed himself.
Serious questions have to be asked about the advice received in senior party circles which still leaves them publicly committed to supporting the Ulster Unionists at the forthcoming elections into late November!
His spouse, Paula Bradshaw left the Ulster Unionists to join her husband’s former party colleagues in Alliance on October 5, the party he left himself last September to run for Westminster on the Ulster Conservative and Unionist ticket. The North Down Borough councillor has sent this parting shot to bloggers:
Ultimately, it is the candidate who is selected who puts his/her name before the electorate; it is the candidate whose reputation was on the line; it is the candidate who takes the brickbats from anonymous blog commenters with nothing better to do.
Parsley suggests that despite displaying an appetite to actively enter the Northern Ireland forum, the Conservatives don’t have “the true political will to build something which will last into the long term as a true means of advocating and promoting effectively mainstream, non-sectarian politics”. After effectively admitting backing the wrong horse, Parsley then dedicates the remainder of his resignation letter to patching up his differences with the Alliance Party, which surely opens speculation as to whether he will join his partner in donning the yellow ribbon once again.
I can say that I was greatly sorry about the manner of my departure from the Alliance Party, which I mishandled, and for any hurt I caused those who had campaigned for me just months before. For this I can now unreservedly apologise. Those close to me will be aware of the great upset it caused me to leave the party, but particularly to do so in a manner which gave those within it any cause for anger or regret.