One of two candidates in the race to replace her as the UUP candidate in North Down said it was hoped that Lady Sylvia will stand aside, after refusing to accept her party’s tie-up with the Tories.
The party’s last remaining MP refused to allow her name to go forward for selection and now her North Down Constituency Association must come up with a new standard-bearer. It is due to meet by the end of next week.
Former party officer Jonny |Andrews, a grandson of former Northern Ireland Prime Minister John Andrews, said: “It is up to her but the hope is she won’t stand as an independent.
“She was an excellent MP who runs a fantastic constituency office but at the end of the day the link with the Conservatives was agreed party policy.”
Mr Andrews (50), who was a member of the joint UUp/Conservative working group which agreed to run joint candidates, said he “passionately believed” in the project.
Recently-elected constituency association chairman Alan McFarland said he believed Lady Sylvia was facing a genuine quandary, not wanting to damage her party but under pressure from the public to remain as an MP.
“If she made clear she was going to run as an independent then there would be a conflict there and either the party removes her or she resigns,” the North Down MLA added.