Ulster Unionists in Crisis

Published Thursday, 09 February 2012
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Discipline is a feature of successful modern political parties. The DUP and Sinn Fein prime examples. The Ulster Unionists however, are a different matter.

In recent weeks it has been a case of ''you couldn't make it up''.

When David McNarry resigned from the UUP Assembly over going too far in his comments over discussions with the DUP on Unionist unity, it opened some old sores.

Just how far did those talks go?

Who was involved and what was Tom Elliott's role?

We do know there were discussions with Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson on the DUP side with Elliott, McNarry, Danny Kennedy and party chairman David Campbell on the UUP side.

Normal political talks, says Mr Elliott, in line with discussions with other parties.

Not so, says Mr McNarry. They were substantial, he claims.

The Strangford MLA also says Mr Elliott's ''kitchen cabinet'' was kept informed of the talks.

This group spent an overnight in Lough Erne and there were subsequent meetings.

Mr McNarry will not say who attended these meetings but from my sources I gather those present were Elliott, McNarry, Kennedy. Danny Kinahan, Mike Nesbitt, Lord Empey and MEP Jim Nicholson.

Oddly, the party's Deputy Leader John McAllister was not included.

A disciplinary committee will now decide if Mr McNarry has broken party rules. Other UUP staff members are also being investigated.

The party want the matter sorted before the AGM on March 31.

It will be a real test of Tom Elliott's leadership in more ways than one.

Watch this space!

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Offering in East Londonderry wrote (769 days ago):
Tom Elliott became so focused on his enemies that he forgot to bring his troubles to his friends.
Mark A Stott in Bolton, Lancs, England. wrote (796 days ago):
With an overwhelming mandate from the Unionist Electorate, the DUP obliterated the UUP at Westminster. Yet the DUP has been reluctant to cultivate this partnership with the electorate and rid the Town Halls and (more latterly) the Assembly of UUP interests. It would take a united and disciplined UUP to even call it a day and disband, let alone reverse their decline. None if this is going to happen and albeit with a heavy heart, the UUP must be finished off from without, as it were. The time is not so much now, but from now on.
honest comment in omagh wrote (797 days ago):
in 2 consecutive days 2 comments! does that say TOM ELLIOTT BYE BYE
honest comment in omagh wrote (798 days ago):
tom elliott persona lacks credibility-im a tyrone person and being impartial i view mike nesbitt as a trustworthy future leader
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Ken Reid
Ken Reid

Ken Reid is Political Editor at UTV. His career as a journalist began at The News Letter in 1977, where he remained for seven years. This was followed by stints as the sports editor, and later editor, of the Sunday News, and reporting for the Cork Examiner.

Ken joined UTV in 1994. He says one of his most memorable moments was breaking the Ian Paisley retirement story in 2008.

He's a big fan of rugby (Ballymena to be precise), cricket and football (Everton FC) and loves music, especially blues.

His favourite motto is Everton FC's: "Nil satis nisi optimum"... Only the best is good enough.

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