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David Cameron wants a full merger between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionist Party, according to the new UUP leader

By Jonathan Isaby

UK map with union jack flag At the end of September, the Ulster Unionist Party elected a new leader to replace Sir Reg Empey in the form of Tom Elliott, a Fermanagh farmer and former soldier who has been an Assembly Member at Stormont since 2003. 

He was at the Conservative Party conference last week and had a 25-minute meeting with David Cameron, during which, he says, the Prime Minister indicated a desire to see their two parties merge.

Mr Elliott has told his local Fermanagh newspaper, The Impartial Reporter:

"He [David Cameron] wanted to focus more on how we go forward. He’s still keen on a link, but he and I disagreed on the level of that link. He is more keen on a much higher level of a link arrangement whereas I feel the process needs to go slightly slower.

"He wants fully-blown integration where the two parties would be one but obviously I don’t believe unionist people are ready for that yet... We eventually agreed to go away and come back with options and suggestions for each other and meet again at the end of this month. I still think there’s merit in having the link between the two parties.”

I was very much in favour of the electoral alliance between the two parties at the general election and was hugely disappointed that no MPs were returned, although I believe that the results could have been very different had candidates been selected a year in advance of the election.

I am therefore encouraged that David Cameron clearly wants to pursue the relationship and look forward to hearing more about the discussions between the two parties in the weeks and months to come.


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