Lord Maginnis resigns from UUP after failing to secure Mike Nesbitt’s resignation as party leader

UUP gavelThe News Letter’s Sam McBride has neatly [Ed – and quickly] summed up the state of the failing failed relationship between Lord Maginnis and Mike Nesbitt.

A set of email exchanges outline Maginnis’ demands for action following his perceived humiliation, and Nesbitt’s offer (early this morning) to hastily restore the whip to prevent Maginnis’ resignation statement this afternoon.

One email sent by Lord Maginnis to Mr Nesbitt on 17 August after a meeting between the two men said:

I, having been ‘humiliated’ both locally, nationally and internationally by your perverse and superficial action simply to prove how your [sic] such a tough guy*# (!!!!!!)…it is now time for immediate action as I outlined:

1. Withdraw publicly from the position you have adopted — I won’t quibble about how gently you do that so long as your words are positive and clearly vindicate my behaviour.

2. Immediately (before end of August) convene a disciplinary hearing —I will caution that the person who accompanies me, though not a lawyer (which is a misguided position) will have access to the Press.

3. You tender your resignation as party leader on the basis (a) that the party has not been able to prosper under your leadership and (b) that you lack the ability to make incisive political decisions.”

An email sent this morning (28 August) from Mr Nesbitt to Lord Maginnis said that he was willing to change his “timetable” for restoring the whip and said that he now saw “no reason for delay…to offer to restore the whip. I am, therefore, making that offer.”

Following Maginnis’ resignation, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has stated that unionist people “owe a debt of gratitude to Ken Maginnis” and said that “recent matters … could have been resolved at any time”.

Maginnis was seen as a supporter of Nesbitt at the leadership election earlier this year. Hard to imagine that Maginnis would now prefer the more liberal John McCallister to have been elected as party leader?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether unionist politicians are more obsessed with the Parades Commission or homosexuality?

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  • Fergie Pie

    The sooner Nesbitt clears these dinosaurs out of the party, the sooner the UUP can start to move forward.

    These types of disputes MUST be settled behind closed doors. Internal party arguments played out through the media only turn off voters.

  • Mister_Joe

    Would it be appropriate in this year of memory to play “Nearer My God to Thee”?

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    I had a lot of time for Ken Maginnis during the dark old days when one struggled to find a unionist politician whom one wouldn’t be embarrassed to hear speaking on National TV/Radio. However I’m afraid Ken has now joined the circus and I doubt his departure from the UUP will have any detrimental impact on the UUP once the local journos have had their story. While I am not much in favour of House of Lords reform, sadly, Ken now makes a good argument for it. That said, I guess that in his day he was a greater asset to the UUP than Mike Nesbitt will ever be.

  • Mister_Joe

    The UUP was essentially destroyed from within by Paisley’s puppet. It really is hard to believe that they can recover to their former position of strength. Their two main wings seem to make very poor bedfellows.

  • Neat trick that, it appears that Ken Maginnis has given Mike Nesbitt the thumbs down but thrown himself to the lions.

  • OneNI

    What is the purpose of the UUP?
    Have to say the News Letter article is a damning indictment of Nesbitt’s leadership skills
    Little sign of the ‘media skills’ he was supposed to possess

  • mjh

    What was Mike Nesbitt thinking? When Maginnis demanded that Nesbitt resign as leader on the basis of a totally humiliating statement of self criticism, it was obvious he was making a condition that he knew Nesbitt could never accept. By 17th August Maginnis intended to resign whatever happened.

    So why didn’t Nesbitt recognise this?

    Nesbitt had 11 days to prepare the ground both within and without his party for Maginnis’s resignation announcement, an unbelievable political luxury.

    But instead he backs down and offers Maginnis an immediate restoration of the whip. Did he not known that this would look as if he had panicked when the penny finally dropped that Maginnis meant what he said?

    Life is tough for any leader of any political party. But when your party colleagues know that you can be pushed around, life gets a whole lot tougher.

  • Revision

    Neat trick that, it appears that Ken Maginnis has given Mike Nesbitt the thumbs down but thrown himself to the lions taking care to hang onto Mike Nesbitt.

  • Rory Carr

    What a strange e-mail from Maginnis to Nesbitt on 17 August.

    I will caution that the person who accompanies me, though not a lawyer (which is a misguided position) will have access to the Press.” (My emphasis.)

    What on earth is that all about ? Shades of Harold Wilson and George Wigg I can’t help but think recalling Wilson’s cryptic message to journalists Barry Penrose and Roger Courtiour:

    Occasionally when we meet I might tell you to go to the Charing Cross Road and kick a blind man standing on the corner. That blind man may tell you something, lead you somewhere.

    But at least Wilson’s paranoia was justified, Wigg had been plotting a military coup to dislodge the elected government and install Mountbatten as pro-consul.

    As for Maginnis’s ridiculous ultimatums to Nesbitt, well, I was expecting to read a fourth demanding:

    “Unless you hie yourself to a tree in Cherry Valley and there hang yourself by the neck until dead, I shall never again speak to you.”

    But, all in all, no complaints from me. It is all most entertaining and that, after all** is what the UUP is there to provide us with these days, it having no other discernible purpose.

    ** Apologies for all the “alls” – I bought a job lot of them cheaply on e-Bay and am trying to use them all up. (that’s another one gone !)

  • Revision in light of Good Evening Extra

    Neat trick that, it appears that Ken Maginnis has given Mike Nesbitt the thumbs down but thrown himself to the lions taking care to hang onto Mike Nesbitt (who in one bound is free) as Maginnis now hangs himself publicly while lions open mouthed but in shock – even they cannot swallow Maginnis’s rampant homophobia.

  • glenda lough

    I for one was devastated by the news: here in Irish Occupied Ireland many other right thinking people including myself regard Lord Maginnis as ‘The Thinking Man’s Dana’. Now, I suppose, he will sink back into total and utter obscurity. He will be sorely missed.

  • Rory Carr

    “The Thinking Man’s Dana” indeed.

    Naughty. But I like it.

  • Alias

    The UUP has become more of a party game than a political party – with the game being to publically belittle the (latest) leader.

    How long can it be before Tony Robinson adds the position to an episode of “The Worst Jobs in History”?

  • “The Thinking Man’s Dana”?

    The ‘thinking man’s Iris’ might have raised a little more traction.

    Many will be glad to see the back of him. I am told that his behaviour has deteriorated to the point that he was a liability to the party.

  • glenda lough

    Point taken SM, but down here nobody knows who Iris Robinson is; arguably this is something we have in common with Iris Robinson.

  • dwatch

    “I am told that his behaviour has deteriorated to the point that he was a liability to the party”

    Indeed Seymour Major, even before his recent statements on radio & to the media over the gay issue Ken’s behaviour has been an embarrassment to both himself and the UUP over his actions at a number of party meetings during these past 2 or 3 years. Sad exit from the UUP for a man who had achieved so much in his 3 score years & 10.

  • sherdy

    No kiss and make up, then?

  • Greenflag

    ‘No kiss and make up, then?’

    Nope that would be unnatural and deviant behaviour as the man has already said .

    Still have to feel its the wrong note on which to end his political career .Overall Maginnis has been one of the more thoughtful and better UUP politicians . He shoulda , coulda been leader at a time when it coulda made a difference .Now it don’t matter any more . Roll up the carpet folks the party is over .

  • lamhdearg2

    There is little room for principled men in todays world, even less in todays politics.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Lord Maginnis as ‘The Thinking Man’s Dana’’

    I don’t think so .He always got more than 2% of the vote .

    The Thinking Man’s Lady Diana perhaps ? or would that be even naughtier ?

  • IJP

    mjh

    Really well put.

    Personally, I much prefer Maginnis to Nesbitt. But Nesbitt is basically right here – Maginnis said outrageous things, then breached party discipline.

    However, this is politics. As you say, it was clear Maginnis was gone some time ago, yet this has come as a shock with Maginnis earning the sympathy. How on earth was that allowed to happen?

    As mentioned above, Nesbitt’s “media skills” are in fact non-existent. So are his political skills. And, of course, even if he had both he would have no hope of saving a party which simply has no purpose.

  • sbelfastunionist

    It’s interesting at this moment to reflect on those who were UUP MPs at Trimble’s high point. Trimble, Donaldson, Maginnis, Kilclooney and Ross have all left the party. I’m not sure if Smyth is still in the party but I doubt it. Burnside quit politics to return to business. The remaining two, Walker and Thompson are deceased. Says it all really.

  • Dewi

    Srange – i honestly almost wonder if Nesbitt asked him to do this.
    “You or me?” – “Err that’ll be you”

  • Mark

    Just thinkin that ….

    The heyday of the UUP . The Major / Molyneux press conference …keeping the tories in power , Trimble with the ear of Westminister . And now , no seats in London . Playing second fiddle to the DUP locally . Second fiddle to SF generally . Tom Elliot and Trevor Ringland , all the messin with McNarry and Maginnis and the homophobic comments .

    Maginnis has cost the UUP votes . No doubt about it .

  • andnowwhat

    I heard on the news that Ken was one ofo four who took out papers for the last leadership election. Is that news? I cannot say I heard of it before.

  • aquifer

    Diss the leader go for the long drop!

    This is a new beginning for the UUP.

    Unless the Orange can enlist them against the PSNI and leave Alliance the only Unionists fit to run the place.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    “Just thinkin that ….

    The heyday of the UUP . The Major / Molyneux press conference …keeping the tories in power , Trimble with the ear of Westminister . And now , no seats in London …”

    Where exactly does that leave the UUP at Westminster now?

    Not a soul in the House of Commons and but three members in the House of Lords – former leader of the party and ex Deputy Leader of Vanguard, Lord Empey (but never MP) of Shandon, former party chairman Lord Rogan of Lower Iveagh (also never an MP) and the kilt wearing, taxi hailing Lord Laird of Artigarvan, formally of West Belfast Loyalist Coalition (and never an MP in Westminster either).

    As Mike Nesbitt said in his leadership victory speech … “the 14 years of pain, the kickings on the doorstep, the price we had to pay for the Belfast Agreement – it is over”. It sure is Mike, it sure is.

  • Harryaswell

    Well, this is no surprise to me. Lord Maginnis should never have been made a “Lord” in my view. His opinions have always deviated from the norm. He is a deviant himself in that he refuses to conform and certainly has no respect for normal party disciplines. He is only doing what he should have done years ago. The UUP will be far better off without him. The Gay marriage thing is a red herring and of no great importance. Maginnis should learn to get over himself. Nesbitt and the UUP as a whole are far better off without recalcitrant dinosaurs in their midst.

  • Harryaswell

    The sight of these e-mails is very revealing of Maginnis’ attitude to life. Vindictive and suffering from delusions of grandeur.
    Well, this is no surprise to me. Lord Maginnis should never have been made a “Lord” in my view. His opinions have always deviated from the norm. He is a deviant himself in that he refuses to conform and certainly has no respect for normal party disciplines. He is only doing what he should have done years ago. The UUP will be far better off without him. The Gay marriage thing is a red herring and of no great importance. Maginnis should learn to get over himself.

  • Zig70

    homosexuality doesn’t lead to bestiality, farming does. He really didn’t express any sentiments that I wouldn’t hear on the factory floor, but everyone there knows you don’t repeat it in polite company.

  • andnowwhat

    Ken said that he wanted the rights that gays currently have extended to brothers and sisters (seriously) who live together. What the fek goes on I. The country

  • Mister_Joe

    Harry,

    Who has the right to decide what the “norm” is and how far you have to “deviate” before you are shunned from “polite” society?
    Einstein was far from normal. I don’t agree with Maginnis’ views on homosexuality in the least but that is no cause to demonize him. Just to politely disagree, forcefully if needed.

  • magherafelt red

    I believe that Ken had no choice but to leave the UUP. Nesbitt disiplined him for his anti gay remarks but only gave my councillor Jackie Crawford a slap on the wrist. Nesbitt needs to listen to the grass roots and not allow himself to be dictated to by the McCunes, Overend and Kinghan. I wish Ken well.

  • Mister_Joe

    And yes, andnowwhat, civil partnerships should be available to everyone. See my comments in response to Turgon the Wise on the “The bible, gay marriage…” thread.

  • aquifer

    UUP leadership gives up self-loathing. This is news.

  • Harryaswell

    Mister_Joe, society as a whole dictates what is correct behaviour. Many people, not just Einstein, are not normal per se. However, they do know not to wash their dirty linen in public, and they do also know not to spread malicious gossip and spitefull self opinions. Maginnis is a thoroughly unpleasant fellow, and deserves all he gets. My opinion, of course!

  • Mister_Joe

    Harry,

    I think that the only thing that society “as a whole” decides or has the right to decide, is what is lawful and what is not. That changes from time to time.
    Thoughts cannot and should not be “controlled”. I recommend Orwell’s 1984 if you do not understand.

  • ForkHandles

    There is actually no such thing as homophobia. If there was, then there would be people who suffered from a mental condition of being afraid of gay people. There are no people that are afraid of gay people. What the term is actually used for is to try and intimidate people into changing their opinion of what is morally right in terms of sexual behavior and general lifestyle. It is used to try and force people to conform to a certain viewpoint to accept the specific view that homosexuality is ok. A disagreeing view is not accepted. The basic idea that a person cannot disagree with someone else’s view point is contradictory to the idea of liberal democracy. People who talk about other people being homophobic are actually just trying suppress view points that they don’t like.

    Atheist homosexuals wish that their behavior would be accepted by everyone as right and (maybe wholesome) and not wrong in any way. This is because they do not follow any particular beliefs that tell them what is right and what is wrong. We live in a liberal democracy where people can follow their own beliefs and practices within the law no matter what other people think of them. So atheist homosexuals are free to believe that their practices and lifestyles are perfectly ok.

    Atheist heterosexuals wish that their behavior would be accepted by everyone as right and (maybe wholesome) and not wrong in any way. Basically they are the same as atheist homosexuals. Basically they want to do whatever they feel is ok, and they want everyone else to validate that what they are doing is right and not wrong in any way. As with homosexuals, this is why a promiscuous heterosexual cannot stand being told their practices are immoral.
    But the reality is that everyone does not have to conform to other people’s view of what is morally right. Thankfully we live in a democracy where each person can express their views on any subject. If a person feels that homosexual practices are wrong then they can express that opinion. Many people in this country do not live by the atheist view that whatever they feel like is ok. They live by defined values of what is right and what is wrong. If their values define homosexual practices as wrong and as sinful then they are entitled to express that opinion. They are entitled to say to a homosexual person that they find their practices and lifestyles as morally wrong. The real problem is that homosexual people cannot accept that other people find their practices and lifestyles as immoral. It is actually the homosexual people that have the tolerance problem.

    In the west we live in a mostly atheist society, so most people live by the idea that there is no right and wrong other than what people decide themselves and is the majority view. As the vast majority of people are heterosexual they would not believe that homosexuality is a normal sexual orientation. But they do not have any guideline as to what is right or wrong so they revert to having no opinion, whatever each person thinks is ok…

    The atheist is truly lost, they have no guideline as to what is right and what is wrong. The anger of homosexuals and heterosexuals when they are challenged as to the immorality of their life styles is a plain indication of their self-conviction of the immorality of their lifestyle. They love their sin and that is why they are so angered when a light is shone on it.

    Of course there are many types of sin. I am so thankful that through faith in Jesus Christ that my sin can be forgiven when I die and am judged. I have committed many sins, sexual and otherwise, all of which are forgiven through simply putting my faith in Jesus. Its such a pity that many people in NI are overcome by their love of sin to such an extent that they end up rejecting Jesus.

  • lamhdearg2

    forkhandles, you where doing so well there, right up untill the end. and

    “Thankfully we live in a democracy where each person can express their views on any subject. If a person feels that homosexual practices are wrong then they can express that opinion.”

    not without the sanction of a witch hunt they cant. see ken above.

  • Mister_Joe

    The atheist is truly lost, they have no guideline as to what is right and what is wrong.

    That is disgustingly offensive. I am an atheist, though I believe I am spiritual, and I certainly know what is right and what is wrong. A lot of it is innate and the main influence in giving children their “moral” guidance is their parents, not their churches.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Maginnis was and is a good man but he’s out of touch and just wrong on this issue.

    I won’t forget his honest and straightforward good sense during the Troubles, as a great spokesman for ordinary people, unionist and nationalist in the face of the terrorists and their supporters and apologists. And he showed real bravery too. Sad that it’s ended for him in this way; really he’s made a total arse of himself, I’m afraid. There is a time to step off the political stage and perhaps he just lingered too long.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    “The atheist is truly lost, they have no guideline as to what is right and what is wrong.”

    Forkhandles – I’m taking the liberty of assuming from your post that you consider yourself to have a guideline as to what is right and what is wrong and that your guideline is the contents of a certain ancient religious book. Perhaps you can share with us why you chose that particular ancient religious book as your guideline as opposed to any of the many other ancient religious books?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Forkhandles response could also be read as saying that athiests have a personal conscience, religious people have a “conscience for dummy’s guide”

    I’m half religious. Probably believe but I don’t check a doctrine to see what to think,say or do.

    What I feel like is usually right.

  • Lionel Hutz

    On Big Ken, this was an issue made up by Stephen Nolan who likes to put words in people’s mouths and then take them out of context, particularly on gay rights issues.

    Surely Ken was entitled to believe that a sexuality that doesn’t meet the basic needs of a species is deviant. He chose his words poorly though.

    However, since then it was a comedy of errors from both Mike and Ken and Mike started it with his stupid censorship attempt of a 70 odd year old man.

    I hope the UUP die. I think the SDLP suffer through association.

  • JoeBryce

    I heartily endorse Mainland Ulsterman’s comments on Lord Maginnis. A remarkably brave, decent, and honourable man, who played a key role in getting us to the better place we are in today, in two crucial ways: first, in facing down ‘The Armed Struggle’; and then in supporting Trimble on the GFA. Whatever infelicity may characterise his recent performances, they do not diminish his heroic past achievement.

    On the bigger picture, however, I have an observation to make with which MU may not agree. IMHO the historic shift that occurred when the protestant / unionist electorate switched from the UUP to the DUP was a shift from British to Ulster nationalism. It was the start of a communal positioning toward building a strong negotiating hand in the establishment of an all-Ireland structure, likely Home-Rule-within-Home-Rule, a strong Ulster within a sovereign Ireland. Indeed, SF / PIRA (and that is what it was at the time) played the decommissioning card more or less explicitly to achieve the objective of turning unionists in that direction. Now that PIRA is out of the equation, the DFM (whom I respect) has I believe admitted that was the strategy at the time. At the time, it angered me that people did not seem to see how they were being manipulated. Now, however, I think the collective decision was the right one. As Scotland moves to greater autonomy (devo max the likely outcome here), NI’s option of becoming a devo max region of a new Ireland is likely to appear increasingly attractive to many people. The DUP is equipped to take us there; the UUP, not. So I think the UUP will dwindle away. It is the dying ember of a British nationalism once wonderful and vital but coming near the end of its time, unlikely to outlast for very long the sadly inevitable (but hopefully long delayed) ending of the present glorious reign.

  • dwatch

    “I hope the UUP die. I think the SDLP suffer through association.”

    Many Unionists I have been talking to believe this could be the last parliament the UUP may be represented at the NI Assembly June 2015. The the once largest NI party has been dying since the General Election 2005 when it lost five of its six sitting MP’s. When the UUP lost its last seat in 2010 causing the leader Reg Empey to resign, the writing was on the wall for the curtains to be pulled then. All this recent nonsense between Nesbitt, Maginnis & McNarry would never have happened.

  • Harryaswell

    dwatsh. You are being specious. What Unionists have you been talking to? DUP? The new Conservatives? All based upon wishfull thinking, IMO. The problems with the UUP originated because, or after, Trimble led them into the so called “Peace Agreement”. The SDLP also suffered because of that. The DUP is a socialist, semi religious fundamentalist Christian party. The whole point of the new UUP is that it will be a right of centre Unionist party with NO sectarian bias. That is certainly a very good thing.and will foster support from the educated and moderate middle classes right across the community. Nesbitt is not to blame for the loss of seats at Westminster, the bad leadership since Trimble is. It seems to me that the very act of miswishing the UUP is a symptom of the fear in others that a United Ireland is unlikely to succeed for a very long time, despite the cozy alliance between Sinn Fein and the DUP. Quite frankly, being British, (and Northern Irish), myself, I have NO wish for a UI. – I wish Nesbitt well in all his endeavours and will support the UUP against all subservant activities

  • dwatch

    “The whole point of the new UUP is that it will be a right of centre Unionist party with NO sectarian bias.”

    Harryaswell, the UUP has a long way to go convincing the citizens of NI they have no sectarian bias when at present most UUP MLAs and most of its membership are still either members of the Orange order or very supportive of Orangeism.

  • OneNI

    Harryaswell as dwatch says the citizens of NI dont believe the UUP has no sectarian bias.
    Moreover what is the point of a second, parochial, right of centre party. The Conservatives are the main centre right party of the UK why do want NI to remain cut of from the politics of the UK?

  • Harryaswell

    OneNI and dwatch . The UUP will eventually have no sectarian bias. Things take time. In any case, were is the difference between the UUP having a few Orangemen compared to Sinn Fein having a great number of IRA?? – Quite a bit I should say! The citizens of NI will soon catch up! As for the reason to have a second “parochial” Unionist Party, the reason is perfectly plain. It will not be sectarian and it will not be fundamentalist Christian. It will be moderate and will be highly supportive of the Union, which none of the other “parochial” parties are decidedly not!

  • PeterBrown

    Harryaswell

    Not more UUP garden centre prod nonsense – the UUP is in a PVS and the humane thing to do is switch off life support rather than try to turn it into a clone of Alliance….

    As for the bad leadership starting after Trimble – let’s not forget who was at the bridge when the iceberg was struck….

  • Comrade Stalin

    lionel,

    I think the UUP are destined to die.

    If Nesbitt were a canny political operator, he’d have come up with a form of words which would have allowed himself to keep a good distance from Ken’s viewpoint and show that it does not reflect party policy. Kind of like a loveable old grandfather or great uncle whose views are a bit out of date but everyone puts up with.

    Nesbitt is simply picking his fights very badly and this is simply a consequence of not having spent any significant period of time working or moving in political circles and understanding the relationship management skills that are essential to the job.

  • Mister_Joe

    Too true, Comrade.
    All political parties are coalitions and a leader does need great skills to manage the various factions and hold them together. I imagine most PMs and Presidents appoint people to Cabinet whom they thoroughly detest.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Indeed Joe, reminds me of John Major’s unguarded comment when asked why he didn’t simply sack Ministers who were conspiring against him – “then we’d have another of the bastards out there”.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Joe,
    I don’t disagree that with devolution, unionism’s little Ulster strand has come to the fore, which the DUP better reflects than the more cosmopolitan (sometimes) UUP. But for me the DUP’s eclipsing of the UUP was and is largely because of apprehension among the Protestant community of Sinn Fein’s rise within the Catholic community – and the feeling that Protestants would suffer unless robustly represented, as long those representatives were still basically decent and respectable (no mass popularity for terrorist-affiliated parties).

    Where I differ with Joe is the suggestion that this is some sort of positioning for a future UI scenario. I don’t think people are thinking that far ahead, I think it’s a response to current events and particularly the grim political rise of the extremists within Irish nationalism.

  • Mister_Joe

    MU,

    I don’t think I have ever suggested that there is any positioning for a UI or, if I did, it was totally inadvertent. I don’t see any possibility other than maybe in the future, once the Royal Family have gone away, there just might be a confederation of the isles; if the EU broke up, for example.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think it’s a response to current events and particularly the grim political rise of the extremists within Irish nationalism.

    Huh ?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Comrade Stalin,
    I said, “I think it’s a response to current events and particularly the grim political rise of the extremists within Irish nationalism.”