North Down needs Lady Hermon as an Independent MP
When the Ulster Unionist leadership decided to merge with the Tories it displayed cavalier disregard for members and supporters who were not Conservatives.
It more or less told them to get lost. Sir Reg Empey and co also told the party’s sole Westminster MP to get lost, given that they disrespectfully kept Lady Sylvia Hermon out of the loop during the merger initiative.
Lady Sylvia could have opted for a quiet life by simply becoming a Tory at Sir Reg’s behest. Thankfully, Lady Hermon has stuck to her ideological principles and is to be commended. One wonders though, about other non-Tory members of the Ulster Unionist Party who simply seem to have kept their heads down. For example, what has become of socialist Ulster Unionists such as Chris McGimpsey? Have they become Tories?
We now face the absurd possibility of the Conservatives and Unionists running a New Labour candidate in North Down at the next General Election if Lady Hermon stays in the party. But such absurdities are by no means unusual in terms of Ulster Unionism and North Down.
In 1987 the UUP expelled Robert McCartney because he advocated the organisation of the Tory and Labour parties in Northern Ireland. Now the UUP has imported the Tories into Northern Ireland and has criticised Lady Hermon for opposing that policy. I am sure this irony will not be lost on Lady Hermon and I hope she continues to do the right thing.
I hope that she will leave the Conservative and Unionist Party and run as an Independent in North Down. I have no doubt that if she does so she will win handsomely.