UUP MLA for South Antrim
Northern Ireland’s two largest unionist parties have criticised Shadow Secretary of State Louise Haigh after she suggested the British Government should remain neutral in the event of a border poll.
On the afternoon of February 15, 2016, DUP minister Jonathan Bell stood to his feet in the Northern Ireland Assembly and misled the chamber. Asking MLAs to approve the sudden closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), he rebutted claims that “money has been squandered or investment lost”. “That”, he said, “is not the case”.
In a fortnight’s time, the Ulster Unionist Party stages its most important conference in the last two decades. When Doug Beattie addresses the ranks, just over 200 days from the scheduled Assembly election, he will do so as the first UUP leader since David Trimble to hold realistic hopes of becoming unionism’s standard-bearer.
When we decided to explore unionism in Northern Ireland in its centenary year for a season of BBC Radio 4 documentaries, it was because it seemed that to use that old cliché, unionism was once again at a crossroads. What we didn’t anticipate was that we’d pick a time of such political turmoil.
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