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Allister’s party eyes Simpson’s Westminster seat

By Victor Gordon

The Upper Bann Westminster seat of David Simpson is the latest being targeted by Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) after the shredding of the DUP vote in the European elections.

“It’s a very likely possibility we will fight in Upper Bann although there’s plenty of time to make a decision,” Mr Allister said.

But Mr Simpson — who took the seat from UUP leader David Trimble in 2005 — has warned that such a move would hand the seat over to Sinn Fein in a constituency that has a 36 per cent nationalist minority.

“Given the same circumstances in Upper Bann as in the European poll, Sinn Fein would almost certainly take the seat,” he said.

“We will be examining the reasons behind the European poll and addressing them in the coming days.

“We are glad we retained the seat and emerged the leading unionist party on the first count.”

However, David Calvert, former Craigavon deputy mayor turned TUV member in Upper Bann, said the reason for DUP’s “poor showing” in Europe was crystal clear.

“They didn’t tell the electorate at the last assembly election that

they would going into partnership with Sinn Fein when it was blatantly obvious that was their intention,” he said.

And the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists are not ruling themselves out of contesting Upper Bann after their European candidate Jim Nicholson sailed in after making the quota for Brussels.

Former chairman of the party’s Upper Bann Association Arnold Hatch said: “David Trimble always said the St Andrews Agreement was the identical twin of the Belfast Agreement and that David Simpson and his like have misled the electorate of Upper Bann.”

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