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TUV chief Jim Allister hints he may not run for MP in 2015


TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister

Jim Allister has hinted he may stay out of next year's Westminster election battle.

The TUV chief said it was "not inevitable" he will stand against sitting MP Ian Paisley jnr in North Antrim, where the Ulster Unionists have already selected Robin Swann to run.

The constituency has not so far featured in public utterances about potential DUP/Ulster Unionist pacts in North Belfast, South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Mr Allister is expected to announce his decision early in the new year, but said despite rivalry between the unionist parties, they would all want to see a unionist rather than a non-unionist elected.

He stood against Mr Paisley in the 2010 race, polling just 7,114 votes (16.8%) against Mr Paisley's 19,672 (46.4%), but was ahead of the joint Ulster Unionist/Conservative candidate Irwin Armstrong, who got 4,634 votes (10.9%).

One focus of the TUV annual conference was victims and survivors from the Troubles, a year after Mr Allister single-handedly steered legislation banning anyone with a serious conviction from becoming a special adviser (Spad) at Stormont through the Assembly.

One of the party's newly-elected councillors, Stephen Cooper, warned future inquiries into Troubles-related murders must include terrorist organisations.

"If we are to have inquiries, then let's examine the organisation, and specifically the leadership responsible, for the majority of atrocities.

"Kingsmills, Darkley, La Mon, Bloody Friday, Narrow Water, Enniskillen, Droppin' Well Inn, Ballygawley, Warrington, Shankill all remain unresolved," he said.

Belfast Telegraph