Nominations published

The Electoral Office have published the list of those seeking office at the Assembly elections.

Having a quick scan two things stick out. The TUV are standing two candidates in North Antrim. Given that their ability to pick up transfers from anyone but eachother is going to be reasonably low, I don’t see why they would want to do this.

Second, long time leader of the UUP on Lisburn City Council, Ivan Davis, appears to have nominated both Basil McCrea and Edwin Poots.

ALSO, as Dewi points out below, Sylvia Hermon has nominated not only Alan McFarland but perennial independent Alan Chambers.

  • Dewi

    And Sylvia Hermon backing Independents in North Down…

  • So the BNP are standing in East Belfast, East Antrim and South Antrim. Anywhere else? Does this make them the new UDP?

  • How much advantage is there in having your candidate’s name early in the alphabet? Will they appear in this order on the ballot paper?

  • They appear in Alphabetical order on Ballot paper.
    Not studied it in depth yet but Ive noticed I think a decline in Independents. Thank God. Presumably they will be standing for the Councils instead.
    The trend to not publish an address seems to be growing which makes it a bit ackward to predict “geographical” transfers. Always a good sign for a candidate to be backed a big name from his/her Party from days gone by…….Robert Coulter, Seanus Mallon.
    But in among the signatories are interesting names.
    Davey Tweed backing Jim Allister….is presumably the rugby playing LOL man.
    But is Denis Bradley backing Paul McFadden (the ex radio guy) the same Eames-Bradley man?
    And is the Collette Adams backing Sue Ramsey (SF) in West Belfast related to a resident of Louth? No big deal …just an overlap in the Registers.
    And Felicity Huston (still the Appointments Commissioner) has seemingly signed the nomination of an Independent in East Belfast. Presumably the issue is one close to her heart.

  • Sean Og

    +10% over a party colleague further down. And yes, that is the order for the ballot paper.

  • Bigger Picture

    “Given that their ability to pick up transfers from anyone but eachother is going to be reasonably low, I don’t see why they would want to do this.”


  • I think there was reasearch in Australia were voting was (is?) compulsory which showed that those with names beginning “B” do better than “W”. But there are awkward types who probably vote the “W” ahead of the “B”.
    People have criticised the party symbols on ballot papers. Ive heard it wrongly described as “dumbing down” but voting should be inclusive and that includes people with difficulty in literacy.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    re. “So the BNP are standing in East Belfast, East Antrim and South Antrim. Anywhere else? Does this make them the new UDP?”

    Have they any Ulster specific policies?

  • I wonder how many, if any, of our watchdogs have signed nomination papers. Conflict of interest?

    Does the signing of such papers necessarily indicate support for the candidate and/or party?

  • I think signing nomination papers certainly indicates support for an individual assuming its the same “Felicity Huston” in East Belfast.Also I believe Ms Hustons hubby is called Adrian and an “Adrian Huston” has also signed Mr Stewarts papers.

    Certainly I think “overt” support for a mainstream party would be a problem in my eyes. Less so a genuine independent.
    I know that Adrian Houston……if it is the same guy… interested in tax reform (he and Mrs H were both Inland Revenue employees so obviously have some expertise) and Ms Huston is a well known opponent of animal cruelty (as indeed many folks of all parties are).
    So obviously it depends on the manifesto.
    But on balance I dont think its good that a person in a high public office should reveal her (presumed) voting choice before an election.

  • John D

    The depressing thing is that over half those nominated will get into Stormont. Compare that with the last Welsh Assembly election, where over 200 candidates stood for just 60 seats.
    My preference, as one who did not grow up here, would be to vote for a non-sectarian candidate; but here in East Londonderry that gives me the choice of just one Alliance candidate. One would have thought that in a constituency that includes an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty there might be someone standing for the Greens … And are there any People Before Profit candidates other than Eamon McCann in Foyle?

  • There are several PBP. Although they are down at the bottom of the handicap with Workers Party and Socialists.
    Should make for fascinating (yawn) conversations to while away the long hours in the count centres.
    A surprising lack of Greens

  • And only one SDLP runner in North Belfast (I thought Pat Conery the mayor had been chosen)

  • Mark McGregor

    PBP are at a further disadvantage in Belfast as they lost most of the Belfast SWP cadre recently – very much a paper exercise there. The Socialists will be the victors in that sect fight ‘dick-waving’ contest in Belfast.

  • YelloSmurf

    Nevin, does a nomination imply support? Not necessarilly. I have heard of people signing nomination papers for candidates who they would never dream of voting for themselves, but who they believe should run in order to give others a chance to vote for them, or because they owe the election agent a favour and can repay it by saving them some petrol. So far as I know, the ascentors (as they are known) are merely ascenting to the nomination without necessarilly supporting the candidate.

  • A nomination may not actually BE support but it certainly implies it. I myself welcome the fact that our major political parties will contest all the 18 constiuencies.
    Indeed I admire those folks who live in say North Down and are prepared to asseent to a Sinn Féin candidate. They are facilitating the process.
    But lets not try and pretend that asking ten people to assent to a nomination is much the same thing as asking ten people to sponsor a charity marathon at £1 per mile.

    Im not naive. Ms Huston has a track record in two political parties and that is absolutely no problem. She has proven herself to be a capable person and committed to the democratic process. She is exactly the kinda person who (like me or Yello Smurf) will go into the polling station on 5th May.
    Id rather not know who she is voting for. Or who she has indicated that she MIGHT vote for. I think that the Appointments Commissioner should not put herself in that position.
    If Ms Huston had signed the papers of the candidate of the five mainstream parties there would be an outcry.
    And there should be….including from Yello Smurfs Alliance Party.

    I have no idea who Mr Stewart is. He might be one of those Independents who actually has a political platform. Or a peripheral figure.
    But it seems to me that Ms Huston might have said to him “Sorry Stephen, Im the Appointments Commisioner, ask somebody else”.

  • YelloSmurf

    Ms Huston, if that is who it is, has put herself in a difficult position by doing this. If one holds that sort of office, one not only has to be impartial, but to be seen to be impartial. I was making a more general point about not assuming that everyone who signs a nomination will vote for that candidate.

  • Yello Smurf,
    I certainly agree that its a diffult position to be in and one which could obviously been avoided.
    But whether or not an assentor actually votes for a candidate, it is an indicator. Would Ms Huston have felt her office compromised if she signs papers for Mr Stewart? Obviously not.
    If she had assented to an AP, SDLP, UUP, DUP, SF candidate there would be an outcry.
    Or BNP.
    Yello Smurf has previously commented on the East Belfast thread in support of her AP. A delicate balance there in respect of the second seat. Id have expected more concern.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    PBP are at a further disadvantage in Belfast as they lost most of the Belfast SWP cadre recently – very much a paper exercise there.

    Adding to the confusion is that the PBP in West Belfast is the still-SWP cadre, while the PBP in South Belfast is the ex-SWP cadre.

  • Barry the Blender

    Forgive me if it’s been commented on above but there’s no Ulster Unionist candidate in Foyle. That could leave about 1500-2000 unionist transfers with nowhere to go and could keep the alliance in the race for longer than their used to.

  • pauluk

    Barry the Blender, are there two Unionist quotas in Foyle?

  • Barry the Blender

    No, nothing like it. At the last election the DUP had around 1,000 spare votes, this transferred en masse to the UUP who were left on circa 2,700 and could hang in for a good few counts.

    taking in boundary changes there may be 2,000 spare unionist votes looking for a home. Where will it go?

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    Felicity Huston’s son, Alex, is involved in Mr Stewart’s campaign in East Belfast so I’m guessing it’s more of a favour than overt backing. I doubt someone in a public office would put themselves in that position.

  • Mr McIlhennon appears to remove all doubt …this is the Appointments Commissioner who has signed nomination papers for a candidate in the Assembly Elections.
    I dont think it matters that she did it for a mate of her sons. If she was to sign nomination papers for a member of one of the major parties, she would have been criticised. The principle is exactly the same and I would have thought it self evidently the case.
    Mr McIlhennon may know what are the key points in Mr Stewarts “campaign”. Perhaps this is something that will emerge in the coming weeks.
    Mr McIlhennon brings Alex Huston into the story. And this puts us all in a difficult position. In October 2010, he was just 16, a Campbell College schoolboy and a member of the Youth Parliament. He made some public utterances and I think it would be totally unfair to comment on those utterances.
    I think it is foolish to sign a nomination paper without knowing (and yes approving) the key points in a platform.

  • Since posting the above Ive read the (Saturdays?) Irish News
    The line that Ms Huston did it as a favour to her son is the same line she took when questioned by Diana Rusk.
    I think Slugger broke the story first.
    What larks. Campbell College A level student (Mr Stewart)stands for election. And a fellow student (Mr Huston)is his election agent. Im guessing that the platform has not much in common with the Socialist Workers Party.
    Young Mr Huston is listed as a member of the Conservative Party on the Youth Forum website. His mum was also a member.
    Young Mr Huston has actually spoken in the House of Commons…as the representative of East Belfast (sheesh) at some Youth Parliament.
    Young Mr Huston has also appeared as an audience member in “Spotlight” where he has spoken in favour of “government cuts”.
    He also makes an appearance on the Guardian website where opines that students spend Educational Maintenance Allowance on “alcohol and clothes”.
    Despite his youth Mr Huston is a very political person.
    The actual candidate Stephen Stewart may not actually share his election agents views.
    Felicity Huston may not share her sons views either. Or indeed Stephen Stewarts.
    But as Appointments Commissioner she has led herself open to the charge that she does……she did after all assent to Stephen Stewarts candidature.
    I would submit it is not a wise thing to do.

    As I understand it successful applicants for “appointments” are required to declare whether they have ever been a MP, MLA , Councillor, or stood as a candidate, acted as an agent or been an officer of a political party or canvassed or “helped at elections”.
    Signing a nomination paper IS helping.
    Its right and proper that no politician of any party should be banned from public appointment because of political beliefs.
    But is it right that the person overseeing appointments should become politically involved and attribute it to her doing her son a favour.

    Felicity Huston should resign.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    Agreed FJH. She has made a balls-up of pretty big proportions. She should have known better than to sign a candidate’s nomination paper. What comes of it, well only god knows that…

  • If she had signed a nomination paper for DUP, UUP, Alliance, Sinn Féin, SDLP, BNP candidate, she would have had to resign.
    I cant understand why nobody seems to think its a resigning matter.
    I merely say that it is an unwise thing to do.
    Slugger O’Toole (passim) we need confidence in public appointments and their oversight.
    “what comes of it……” is in part in the hands of the medias follow up.

  • Kevin and fjh, I bought a copy of the Irish News today. There are some great stories but no mention* of Felicity Huston doing an MLA candidate a favour. Perhaps things are a bit quiet down CPANI way since AFAIK they last appointed independent assessors back in 2009.

    The candidate was delighted with his coverage on Saturday’s Irish News – and some blog called Slugger O’Toole :L

    “Nominations for the Assembly elections were published yesterday. Stephen has become the main topic of conversation on this post** on Northern Ireland’s top political blog already” .. his Facebook page.

    * They did manage a full page 3 spread on a pigeon that took off from Wales for Spain – instead of Cushendall.

    ** this thread

  • Nevin,
    I have of course no sense of “news values” but it strikes me that it IS a story. And the watchdogs in the press and blogosphere seem more silent than I would have expected.
    My problem……as you probably know……is that I put too much faith in Journalism.