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Party’s left me in limbo, claims top Ulster Tory

By David Gordon

Leading Northern Ireland Tory Ian Parsley has angrily denounced his party, claiming it has left him as a “candidate in limbo”.

The North Down councillor wants the Conservatives to commit to fighting next year’s Assembly election on their own, following the collapse of the UCUNF link-up with the UUP.

Writing on his blog yesterday, Mr Parsley branded the ongoing uncertainty over his party's position as a “farce”. He made his outspoken comments ahead of next week’s Tory Party conference.

The Conservatives during the summer signalled their willingness to continue the tie-up with the Ulster Unionists. But new UUP leader Tom Elliott has now made it clear that the UCUNF experiment is over and his party will contest future elections alone.

Mr Parsley has been selected by fellow Tories in North Down to stand in next year’s Assembly election in the constituency.

He revealed on his blog that he has been pressing his party to recognise the changed position with the UUP and commit to “making a real effort in Northern Ireland” by itself.

And he disclosed that he has spoken to Conservative Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson on the issue.

“When I raised this with the Secretary of State, he asked me to wait until conference, and thus I am doing so — but it is a matter of public record that I have now spent nine of 13 months in the Conservative Party as a ‘candidate in limbo'. What a farce!”

Mr Parsley also wrote yesterday: “I will speak to and promote ideas alongside good politicians in all parties.”

Belfast Telegraph

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