When I bumped into Mike Nesbitt at an event last night, he looked very confident when he said “I’m going to be leader”.
This morning, Danny Kennedy has withdrawn from the race and not submitted his papers, leaving John McCallister and Mike Nesbitt as the two declared candidates.
During Tom Elliott’s own leadership campaign, Mike Nesbitt was at Tom’s side and remained fiercely loyal throughout Tom’s reign. That should work to his favour in the event of a leadership vote at the AGM at the end of the month.
Having spent decades and paying a heavy price for completing the peace process journey, some in the UUP may be loath to voluntarily leave government.
The big question is now whether John McCallister is up for a fight and willing to convince the UUP members that opposition is a freer and better way for UUP values to be voiced and to challenge the aspects of the DUP and SF that they are currently unable to.
I suspect Paddy Power will be suspending betting again!