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The truth is that paterson was rude, condescending and patronising to UUP members. This happened in spite of him, not because of him.

This deal is good and welcome news, building bridges that were broken in 1972.
Let us now see if we can persuade other unionist parties to join the fold.

The banner is quite simple. It should be the "Conservative and Unionist Party" which is still registered as a name by the Conservative Party

This is a positive move but am I right in thinking the UUP currently only have 1 MP?

Not going to help hugely in the event of a tight election....

Have the concerns of John Strafford of COPOV, and Hon Pres of South Belfast Conservatives, been dealt with.

On 31st August he wrote

"Disturbing stories are emerging about the talks with the Ulster Unionists. A working party met this week. I hear that it is proposed that a Grand Committee will choose the candidates for the General Election. There will be three Conservative and two Ulster Unionist candidates. A Catholic will be chosen for South Belfast. If this is correct it will be a disgrace. Religion should not be involved in the selection of candidates, and what about the grass roots members. Any selection process which does not give them the final say should be totally condemned.

Incidentally as the Hon. President of the South Belfast Conservative Association I would be particularly offended if this is all true.

PS I gather that there is no way Ulster Unionist MP Sylvia Hermon will take the Conservative Whip. Not surprising since she has voted with the government 95% of the time she has been in the House of Commons."

I'm very excited by the prospect of the new partnership with the UUP, and I hope that we can use it to our two parties mutual advantage in the years to come.

Perhaps David Cameron would consider holding a mini-reshuffle now to bring Lord Trimble into the shadow cabinet and one or two UUP peers to the frontbench as a goodwill gesture?

Wearside Tory, The UUP vote may not make a huge difference one way or another to the fate of the Conservative Party but it does mean that the like-minded voters of Ulster will at last have a chance to join the mainstream of British politicswhile retaining their identity. This has to be a welcome step forwards for a truly United Kingdom.

UUP | November 21, 2008 at 14:01
I would be most surprised if Owen Paterson actually did behave in the way you suggest. He is highly respected for his hardwork and patience but he doesn't avoid saying what needs to be said either. Personally think that straight talking honesty is a scarce talent requiring clear thinking and courage.

Well done Jonathan Isaby for highlighting this success and sign of hope for the future.

Re Conservative Democrat my concerns have not been met, but I am content to see how the Joint Committee proceeds. If the Joint Committee appoints the candidates that would be wrong. Candidates should be elected by Party members.
Will Sylvia Hermon take the Conservative Whip? The statement does not say.
Will there be other candidates for the European elections? Who will choose?
I suspect there is still a long way to go before everything is finalised.

Just wait until London starts parachuting 'A-listers' in to stand in Ulster seats...

Conservative Democrat: John's fears are unfounded. The 3 Con 2 UU thing I dont understand and the idea that we would chose candidates on anything other than merit is contrary to Tory principles.
Anyone selected will be there to be a fully paid up member of David Cameron's team

With regard to Sylvia, Lady Hermon her voting record is more 'diverse' than you might think.
To those who say it will not bring more MPs I obviously hope we will prove you wrong, however, this is about more than seats it is about being able to particpate in national politcs

It would really be more productive if people discussed the issues and didnt abuse the likes of Owen Paterson

UUP who ever you are, you most certainly are not a political party. I rebutt your comments about Owen Paterson. I was at the very first meeting between four members of the NI Conservatives with Owen Paterson and Neil Johnston representing their party and Johnny Andrews, Bill McKendry, Jim Dillon and myself all UUP officials in one form or other. This was an exploratory meeting between forward looking Unionists and the two most appropriate Conservatives. This meeting took place on the 15th of October 2007 and was the precursor to many more. At the UUP conference on the 27th of October 2007 I made a speech which suggested our party returning to the Conservative and Unionist Fold. This is available if requested. At all times both Owen Paterson and Neil Johnston were completely involved and Owen was available to myself and all other UUP members involved at all times through out the entire process.I would suggest that no other previous Conservative NI Secretary or Shadow Secretary has put in so much effort into securing nationwide Tory political representation in all four constituent parts of the UK ; although Angus Mackay did in all fairness support the NI Tories. This shift of the tectonic plates of Northern Ireland politics is down, particularly from the Tory point of view, to Owen. I am not concerned in this comment on the great debt we all owe to all the other participants; but suffice to say that the talks were kept in such confidence and all concerned kept in the loop that I would consider your poster to be totally ignorant of the facts of the matter. Furthermore Owen was extremly urbane and helpful throughout the process. I fear that, and have experienced it myself, that English honesty,openess and being totally frank can easily be misconstrued and thus occasionally cause unintended offence to some people here.

John K Lund | November 21, 2008 at 21:59
Thank you for this posting - it is a far better reflection of Owen Paterson's quiet, clear and intelligent way of working. It is precisely because he is so effective that detractors will seek to publish rubbish about him and undermine his work.

Thank goodness we now have the possibility that residents of Norther Ireland can join the mainstream of British politics.

Most kind of you- Eveleigh Moore-Dutton. The two participants in this joint venture need to now work and pull together and hopefully for the individual members to learn to communicate together and rationally sort out differing opinions on history and LOOK TO THE FUTURE as I know that both parties are truly capable of. This is now about bonding and WINNING ELECTIONS with good energetic and altruistic candidates. Politics are a vocation for "Righteously Enraged People" not self aggrandising control freaks whose sole purpose is self promotion and enrichment.

I rather expect the SDLP and UUP to be wiped out in the Westminster Parliament - probably with the DUP getting 13 seats, the UUP will probably never recover, the DUP have supplanted them as the future of Unionism in Ulster.

Yet Another Anon | November 22, 2008 at 23:14

YAA I don't know how accurate your prediction is likely to be but I do hope that by opening the door to Northern Ireland's Conservative leaning voters the door is opened to their future involvement( and influence) in mainstream British politics. The more we behave like a United Kingdom with common interests and a common future the better. I am just grateful that this step forward has taken place.

By the way, I love the expression used above by John Lund - "Politics are a vocation for "Righteously Enraged People" - that is what politics is about for me but put so well!

Yet another DUP concerned voter. They are beside themselves that they are perceived as too exclusive for secular politics. They only attend Westminster alongside their up to three other jobs. How can they spread themselves over three apiece and possibly a Ministry(That's political not Non Comformist) and sit on various other boards, They simply cannot and furthermore it is a total abuse of taxpayers funds. Iris Robinson along with Maurice Morrow are in my opinion total potential electoral disaster areas. The People of Northern Ireland have seen through this charade and will watch whilst the TUV splits the DUP down the middle.

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