Latest odds on the runners and riders for DUP leader and First Minister

Odds on the latest DUP leader are in from Paddy Power (Pic via Sam McBride)

DUP leader odds

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  • John Gorman

    Why no Emma Pengelly? Surely the way she has been fast tracked she is already overdue being next leader and First Minister!

  • Pete

    I actually think Jeffrey Donaldson would be a good contender. Certainly much better than Sammy Wilson or Paisley Jnr.

    Obviously he doesn’t have any chance though, given that nobody is discussing him as a possibility.

  • chrisjones2

    This brings back memories of Dunmore Park in the 1960s where one of the runners had only 3 legs and the other had been doped

  • Niall Chapman

    I’m not a Unionist but I think Simon Hamilton would do a decent job, he doesn’t seem to be as bullish as Arlene and gives a better account of himself, but he’s much younger and I get the feeling the DUPPers prefer belligerence and age over youth and a calm head

  • Zig70

    If you wanted someone the nats couldn’t abide then he’d be your man.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Even more so that foster or dodds? How come ? (Genuinely curious, from a nationalist perspective it would be very slim pickings indeed.)

  • Zig70

    I’m not comfortable being harsh online but.. I guess most of the exposure nats would get to him would be in media soundbites and interviews and like Jim Allister he tries to hide his intent behind clever words and often looking down his nose. It comes across as sly bigotry. Now a bit may be in the ears but the impression he gives is of one who would smile and shoot you in the back.

  • barnshee

    “smile and shoot you in the back.”

    I don`t think Snarling Jim was ever in the RA

  • Zig70

    UDR, different side.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    A bit surprised Donaldson isn’t in there at all. But happy enough for Arlene Foster to take over as FM, about as near as the DUP get to moderate unionism. Important for NI to have a woman leader, even if it’s not a party I would generally favour. I have some time for both her and Dodds, as DUPers go.

  • Pete

    He seems more of a normal professional politician than a lot of the other Northern Irish lot though. I could quite easily picture Donaldson as a Conservative MP, for example.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    He certainly has the public school predilictions, or did he manage to explain away those “videos”…

  • Sergiogiorgio

    More Donkey Derby than Grand National.

  • Greenflag 2

    Enoch Powell’s understudy = should be a plus on the man’s cv . The Tory party may have moved on from Enoch’s day .

  • Greenflag 2

    Foster is the man – oops that may not be pc . Paddy Power seldom gets the odds wrong .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Scary Spice” – oops, Arlene, yes most likely. Fewest rumours, and after the last five years this is something of a hard start with the media.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Jeffrey has always had the “turncoat” label hanging from his back collar even with many in the DUP. It’s the Churchill effect, but not in a good way.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Jeffery keeps growing out of his parties, so why not the Conservatives? That way the DUP would perhaps simply be his equivalent of “The New Party”………..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Party_(UK)

    But I really don’t see him as John Strachey although perhaps the raffish Oliver Baldwin might suit his self image.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Only likely if the leadership election is run as a beauty contest, and even then Jeffery is s strong contender.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Until the Cerberus fiasco is properly explained, Simon’s involvement in those meetings would ensure that his selection would negate the “hugging the bomb blast” effect of Peter’s step down which Mick speaks of:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/11/19/robinson-tells-beltel-he-will-be-stepping-down-as-dup-leader/#comment-2368063213

    There are more bombs ticking than simply the McGuigan murder.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Whoever it is has their work cut out in such a short period of time (6 months) to get their horses up and running for the next assembly elections. Its going to be a more competitive unionist racecourse field for the DUP than before ! They have 38 MLAs ! What would be regarded as Success or Failure ?

  • T.E.Lawrence

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps more importantly in all this, what is the DUP for?

    In the Robinsoin era we had a continuation of the “Ulster Says No” credo as a substitute for any visionary future. Hopefully the new leader will start to articulate what that might be in a positive sense

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Foster leadership(ish) will be harder for the UUP to counter than Robinson was or Paisley before him. Much less divisive figure and has wider potential appeal. But can she and Dodds keep the party’s plentiful over-excitable yapping dogs in check? Seems to me the DUP is at a bit of a crossroads in terms of either cementing its place as the predominant unionist party for the foreseeable, or seeing its hold start to wane. It feels like the end of one phase of intra-unionist politics right now, quite apart from Robinson going, and the easing in of a new phase – which may or may not be similar to the last one! So the leadership does matter I think.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    I agree with all of that.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    If I were setting an internal DUP benchmark for success, it would be to remain the largest party by a decent margin. The party’s vote went up at both elections last year and the Westminster election this year (though inflated in the latter case by the pact with the UUP). In the last Assembly election the vote share decreased slightly but they gained two seats.

    They were fortunate with the UUP’s dismal performance and the absence of other Unionist challengers, and the last seats won in North Belfast, South Antrim, South Down, Fermanagh South Tyrone, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Strangford and Upper Bann must be considered under pressure from other Unionists. Holding half of those eight would actually still be a good result.

    On the other hand, on the numbers from 2011, there might be possible gains in West Belfast (if Nationalists fail to transfer internally), West Tyrone and (if local difficulties can be patched up) South Belfast.

    I can’t really see SF overtaking them. SF posted small declines in its vote in both of last year’s elections and also this year. Again on the numbers, there are two moderately achievable gains from the SDLP in a decent year for SF – Upper Bann and Foyle – but the latter at least looks a bit less reachable now with the new SDLP leader in place.

    If the SDLP has yet another annus horribilis, I can also see potential SF gains in North Belfast, South Down, Mid Ulster and West Tyrone. On the other hand, a loss to PBP (or as per above, just possibly the DUP) in West Belfast looks very likely. I don’t see any potential SF gains from Unionist parties.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Thanks Nicholas for your input it is very close to my analysis. I also have East Belfast down as a risk for DUP 3rd candidate. I only see one DUP MLA in South Belfast (No Gain) and I think they will have to beat the PUP to most FPV in West Belfast if a Unionist is going to take the 6th seat in this constituency. Like I said the DUP have major election headaches but they have a pretty well oiled election machine which is good. It will need to be this time around to turn this around, but like SF I never ever write them off !

  • Nicholas Whyte

    I agree on West Belfast. I also agree that a gain in South is even more of a stretch, especially with the recent grumbling from Ruth Patterson, and would require an increase of votes in a seat where they lost ground both last year and this.

    However, in East Belfast the DUP had enough votes for three seats in every election this century apart from the awful Westminster result of 2010. Admittedly this year it was inflated by the pact – but in principle they should start within striking distance.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The PUP will run that 3rd DUP seat in East Belfast close to the wire ! They will be starting off with a FPV base vote of 3K

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry guys but that is still all image and personality.

    I repeat – what’s the unifying Vision to pull the yapping dogs together? What is the DUP for?

    To be honest I don’t know. And at the moment I am unsure that they do either

  • barnshee

    I have no record of Jimbo in the UDR

  • barnshee

    All the dupers have to do is wave a SF first minister at the prod pop. DUP will slowly eat the UUP in the same way as SF eats the SDLP

  • Zig70

    Google will tell you, wasn’t really suggesting he would actually shoot anyone maybe just stab in the back. Lol.

  • TruthToPower

    Donaldson and indeed Willie McCrea have been very quiet of late and the latter radio silent for years. Why is that ?

  • Mister_Joe

    Maybe injuctivitis?

  • Tochais Siorai

    Jeez, AG, it’s like being asked whether you want the gallows or the firing squad. Forget about nationalist, from a human perspective most of the top people in the DUP come across as people to avoid spending time with including the three above. There’s a consistent tetchiness, lack of charm or humour (unless you find curry my yogurt funny) and being honest, I don’t think you have to dig too deep to find the bigotry in most of them.
    .
    Simon Hamilton seems a normal enough person who doesn’t go out of his way to antagonise, maybe you’d get a bit of craic out of Sammy Wilson & Willie Hay seemed a decent sort. The rest…….

  • Greenflag 2

    The DUP is for the DUP.

  • CB Belfast

    I think Dodds as leader would be a mistake. The DUP have historically had an objectively strong central figure in charge of the party. If you want to split the leadership, it has to look outwardly strong and cohesive (e.g. Marty and Gerry).

    I can see fault lines emerging between Dodds and Foster/ Hamilton if they were sharing the leadership between Westminster and the Assembly.

    I think Foster and Hamilton at the helm, with up-and-comers like Pengelly, McIlveen, Ross in and around OFMDFM, Finance and Health.

    Of course, they will have to find a way to appease some of the old dogs.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d pick Pengelly before Junior for FM he’s not in the Assembly, I don’t see there being a North Antrim by-election over this.

    Co-opt Ian Óg a current MP into being an MLA 50km from his own constituency East Belfast, have him quit as MP then either make Willy McCrea try to win a seat back or have Frew/Storey/McIlveen quit and contest the seat and have yet another co-option?

    Fair enough Storey has surrendered part of his job to Westminster anyway, he may as well go there to try and get it back. 😀

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nicholas, I’m not sure you are calculating quotas here if you are suggesting the SDLP are losing nearly a three quarters of quota in a place like South Down. Sinn Féin don’t look like gaining anything from Foyle. The threat to the SDLP comes from independents like Eammon McCann and Dr Anne McCloskey. McCann’s transfers haven’t favored Sinn Féin over the SDLP, McCloskey’s might. McCann beat the Sinn Féin 3rd candidate to get to the final count, last time around. Not sure whether SF or independents would be more favorable to the unionist voters of Foyle than the SDLP would be. McCann might pick some transfers from people in the Fountain area.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The most obvious threat to a Unionist seat I can see is in South Down, Wells and Reilly have been deflated personally, McCallister doesn’t have a party machine behind him. There might not be two safe “unionist” quotas there anymore if this leads to apathy. It could mean SDLP 3rd or maybe Alliance/Green profiting with some generous transfers from it. It doesn’t look like it would be a Sinn Féin gain.

    DUP’s third seat in East Belfast might be vulnerable to another Unionist, they barely got much over half in a pact with the other unionists. Some of the anyone but DUP tactical voters for the Alliance party or part of the Alliance’s Assembly surplus could help two non-DUP Unionist candidates over the line.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Agree totally T.E. if Alliance have a surplus over 2 quotas (the “Little & Long” partnership could do that), and the nationalists have any decisive say, it might be down to picking the lesser evil. Dr Kyle might be that.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    No digging required in Arlene’s case. Clearly an intelligent woman but with a full on hatred streak running clean through her after what she and her family suffered at the hands of “republicans”. Understandable maybe, but makes her unqualified to represent NI. Although better than that snake in the grass Robbo. Simon Hamilton is the only one I can think off that moves the argument forward.

  • Gopher

    Am reading to much into it that Peter has engineered the succesion to his choice for First Minister. Am I correct that Campbell is the only one of the big guns left in the assembly who still double jobs? Looks like Foster is First Minister barring Gregory crossing the Rubicon, Hamilton looks content to be Mark Anthony knowing his time will come. Peter has managed his succession quite smoothly and may I say with a certain amount of skill. All the rivals are consuls in the far flung Empire and would have to stab Dodds in the back not Peters chosen to advance now. It will be interesting once the leader and First Minister become electewd how they interact or will the party be Janus like and look two ways.

  • Gopher

    I believe the UUP will only run one candidate in South Belfast. I also believe a proportion of candidates will be elected under quota due to the popularity of numerous parties. I would not rule out a second DUP seat in South Belfast. People vote DUP and SF because they vote DUP and SF meaning that their initial vote always remains constant. The SDLP, PBP, Alliance, Greens and Workers Party and even UUP are going after the same vote ie we are not SF or DUP. With TUV, PUP, UKIP and Cons also likely to stand. I dont think there are enough votes to go round as in previous extended counts in South Belfast.

  • chrisjones2

    …or be decisive put them down and dole out a few peerages as compo

  • MainlandUlsterman

    This is why we need national UK parties here, not just unionist and nationalist ones. That way the focus can more easily move onto the real issues.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    SF strength within nationalism vs SDLP does make it dangerous for unionists to risk parity between their two main parties, as SF then ends up as biggest party. What is really needed is an SDLP resurgence then we get a virtuous circle that will free up unionists to back a moderate option too. As long as SF’s there as the biggest nationalist party, their poison makes it very hard for any sort of progressive, constructive politics to develop more generally.

  • tmitch57

    I believe that most people back in 2004 would have put their money on Donaldson being the most likely of the three defectors to replace Robinson and become either party leader or first minister rather than Foster. What happened? Sounds like the idea for a newspaper story on the DUP.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    could be right about one leader. For me then marginally Foster, with Dodds head of the Westminster party and deputy. I think Dodds likes Westminster, where he’s quite highly regarded.

  • Pete

    I think Donaldson being in Westminster has an impact, and Foster being female probably sets her apart too.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    There is talk of a third Alliance candidate.

  • Gopher

    East Belfast is interesting in that the General election threw up a surprise. In a mano a mano knife fight between Long and Robinson the Greens polled 1058 votes, which was more than the SDLP and SF combined. Logic dictates a few things about the assembly election in East Belfast.

    1/ Turnout will be down

    2/ Its not a life or death struggle

    3/ The circus was in town for Long for the general election. Making quota on the first count in a six seat constituency is not news.

    4/ There is a real risk with Naomi standing the Alliance vote could be very lopsided. When that happens accidents happen.

    I respectfully suggest that running 3 Alliance candidates in a constituency that to a substantial number of the electorate is becoming like North Down is insane when the DUP will likely poll more by a margin of somewhere in the region of 50% than the middle ground combined. If the greens are polling 1000 votes in a knife fight I expect a much better performance in a “friendly”

  • Granni Trixie

    Whilst strong DUP supporters will tend to vote for whoever is the candidate (a donkey?) mainly its a mixture of voting for the party and if the candidate appeals.
    SB however is interesting as the actual choice of DUP candidate could make all the difference: there are at least two well known councilers ( if Ruth ha left make that 1) and two blow ins. Bell did reasonably last time but Emma Pengella has no local connections whatsoever and much baggage as indeed brand DUP has attracted much baggage this year – with more to come with the NAMA investigation.

    So whilst in general you can say there is a chance of a gain in SB these reasons make it less likely.

  • Granni Trixie

    That occurred to me when Arlene was chosen to stand In for PR when he first stood down for 6 weeks because of some investigation, I thought then that he was anointing her to build up her profile because he didn’t want others such as Dodds to succeed him.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely their traditional vision is to promote ” the unionist family” – to quote a recent phrase used by Arlene. Seems to me that that exclusive vision makes it difficult to make power sharing work. I think after the GFA people expected that a FM and DFM would represent “everyone”. By now most people have become conditioned to accept they represent two ‘sides’.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nothing more than a sweeper to cover more terrain, I’d feel.

  • Gopher

    At the end of the day Foster and Hamilton are at the competent end of the DUP so if it was Peters engineering and Pengelly looks like a bit of emperical evidence that infact he was at a bit of engineering, it is pretty much unique to leave a party stronger than you found it. I imagine Robinson will be the “Kissinger” of the Assembly for some time to come.

    Its kinda of interesting to see how relatively normal competitive internal politics of the DUP plays out against the politburo type organization of SF. We are yet to learn whether the Southern gambit before establishing oneself in the North will workout well for Gerry though its looking more like day by day Marty should have retired sometime ago. The cause is not ageing well. No standout personalities, nobody you could remotely call competent.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I guess it depends on what mood they’re in. But with Naomi pulling 42% of the vote they would be mad not to take a shot – if people voted similarly to last May, 42% with nationalist and Green transfers added (assuming those parties would transfer to Alliance ahead of the DUP and UUP candidates) takes you pretty damn close to 50% or three seats. It’s probably worth a shot.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I can see no downsides for them in running three candidates. At worst, two will get in if the party performs as well as it did last May. Remember the Green, SF and SDLP votes will have to transfer somewhere; and if Naomi pulls out a big vote they will in turn have to transfer too.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yeah I can see the logic in that to drive up that Alliance Vote from 8512 Assembly 2011 Results to the 16,978 Westminster Vote in 2015, as that 16,978 votes is not a banked Alliance Vote in this constituency. Possibly also profiles another candidate for another future gain of a councillor coming from these wards.

  • Gopher

    Your risking your second seat goes to the Greens if you run three. in a contest which like North Down and like South Belfast as many as four seats will be won under quota

  • Gingray

    Very few people don’t want them here – they don’t vote for them. This is not England MU, it’s Northern Ireland, a very different place.

    What we need is competent local parties, that understand the place and are not simply blow ins subservient to London.

    Ironically if Fianna Fáil stand from 2019 you could see them out polling the Tories here which would be telling.

  • LordSummerisle

    I suppose he can now stand as a character witness at the Pastor Jim McConnell trial in December without fear of retribution.

  • Granni Trixie

    FYI – SDLP support in EB is virtually nonexistent – just over 300 votes at best.

  • Granni Trixie

    ‘Appeasing’ voters important too – will there be a more modern regime.. Will they still appeal to traditional voters?

  • Pete

    Interesting that nobody cares if a male politician’s appearance is criticised (eg John Prescott), and yet it is apparently “sexist” to comment on a female’s appearance.

    Nb: I haven’t criticised anyone’s appearance, just commenting on what I’ve seen said by others.