Cllr Henry Reilly (formerly of UKIP) announced today that he was joining the TUV. Speaking about his decision to join Reilly said;
In joining TUV I know I am doing the right thing, because this is the only unionist party still standing unapologetically for the traditional unionist principles in which I believe. It is also a party wholly committed to re-establishing the national sovereignty of the UK by taking the essential step of leaving the EU. Thus, it is my natural home and I greatly appreciate the kinship and welcome which I feel in joining TUV. I look forward to playing my part in rebuilding the voice of traditional unionism in South Down, after all the disappointment of those who have toadied to the IRA/Sinn Fein agenda. I sense a reawakening of traditional unionism in this constituency in which I want to play a leading part.
His new party leader, Jim Allister said;
It is not without significance that in the last European election between us we captured over 100,000 votes. With this substantial swathe of unionist opinion now represented under the TUV banner it gives us great momentum going forward to challenge the treachery in the week that the DUP is preparing to renew its vows with the IRA in government. After the panel report there is no wriggle room for the DUP. They are now the handmaidens in government of the IRA, that illegal organisation which controls the DUP’s partner, Sinn Fein. Going forward we will relentlessly expose and oppose the perfidy of those who have given us IRA rule.
Reilly did poll over 20,000 first preferences at the last election and does have a personal vote in parts of his constituency. The Unionist field in South Down at the next election will be interesting.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs