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A triumph by Owen Paterson. Divisions like those in Northern Ireland should have been consigned to the dustbin of history a long time ago but at last this has been achieved. No mean feat requiring vision, courage and perseverence!

That logo isn't very photocopiable for election literature.

I completely agree. Hearty congratulations to Owen Paterson for achieving this deal. This must surely be good for Northern Ireland, good for unionism, good for the Conservatives, good for the UUP and good for the UK as a whole.

Can we PLEASE now have some UUP people brought into David Cameron's ministerial team. Lord Trimble for shadow cabinet is just a no brainer, but what about some of the other UUP peers as shadow ministers. Presumably, we can then bring some MPs in after the next election. Having UUP people in the top team at Westminster will surely show what they can get out of this deal, and may help smooth over any issues that still exist.

But what we must be VERY careful not to do is look as though we are trying to subsume the UUP's seperate identity. We need to celebrate the pact, but emhasise that its future is really in the hands of the UUP.

Northern Ireland's interests in Europe are best served by leaving the EU.

NI is no different to the rest of the UK in this regard.

Northern Ireland needs to become independent,just like Scotland,Wales and England do.Moves are afoot to bring this outdated Union to its knees,to the benefit of all of them.
Independence from the UK and EU is near at hand and the Unionists are in turmoil and debt.

I agree with the proposition that Lord Trimble should join the shadow cabinet & that some UUP Peers should become shadow junior ministers. That would broaden & strengthen our top team no end !

"Northern Ireland needs to become independent,just like Scotland,Wales and England do.Moves are afoot to bring this outdated Union to its knees,to the benefit of all of them."

Against the will of the majority?

To be honest, the UUP are a loser-party: their slice of the popular mandate in Northern Ireland has spectacularly collapsed in the last half-decade.

Allying with them is essentially the equivalent of allying with the 'Gang of Four' Social Democrats in the 1980s; a bunch of nowhere-men whose only destiny is oblivion.

If we truly seek to ally with any Northern Ireland party the only sensible option is the DUP.

'If we truly seek to ally with any Northern Ireland party the only sensible option is the DUP'
Tanuki - as a party member living in NI I have to say that if you believe that I really hope you arent a member of the Party.

You are either a member of the DUP or know nothing of NI, the DUP are a sectarian NI Nationalist party who have no Conservative principles.

The most that the new arrangement can do is take votes off the DUP which will only help the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

I think that the UUP is finished, it's down to 1 MP, it really has no raison d'etre, it is floundering around looking for a partner to try and restore some of it's status and the options were the Conservative Party or the Alliance Party.

It might bring some extra councillors in the short term, but the likliehood is that the UUP will lose it's remaining Parliamentary seat at the next General Election and that rather than some great revival this is rather the liquidation of what remains of the UUP with it's remaining support fragmenting between DUP, Alliance Party and Conservatives.

The DUP will probably end up with 13 seats at Westminster, they can deliver far more one way or another at Westminster and can do more to lead the fight against Fenianism.

Yet Another Anon.

That last sentence shows you up for the pathetic little maggot that you are! For those unaccustomed to NI politics Fenian and it's derivatives is a term of abuse for Irish Nationalists with all the same connotations that the N-word has for Afro-Caribbean people.

Care to name what 13 seats the DUP would win at Westminster then? By your reckoning that means they would have to win 2 off either SF or the SDLP, which sort of contradicts your initial statement that "take votes off the DUP will only help SF and the SDLP(!)" Which seats would they be? FST? Mid Ulster? South Down? More chance of Lord Lucan winning the Grand National on Shergar! And as for the DUP delivering at Westminster, we've already seen that that means sucking up to Labour over 42 days!

South Down Tory

Many Conservatives were unhappy at the decisions of 1985 and 1998. The latter sellout was a set of one-way concessions to Irish republicans, and produced a backlash.

The much hyped Lord Trimble saw his seat move from safe-UUP to marginal and then lost it in 2005. Voters felt betrayed for the simple reason that they had been betrayed.

In the same year the UUP kid South Belfast voters that only the UUP stood a chance of winning the seat. Although the outgoing UUP MP, Rev Martin Smyth, backed the DUP candidate, the unionist vote was split, allowing in the SDLP (i.e. Labour ally).

It hasn't stopped the sole surviving UUP MP, Lady Hermon, from being described as the government's favourite MP in NI, though, voting with the government on ID cards, for instance.

I ask CH contributors to wake up to what is really happening in part of the UK.

Commenters need to be aware that history is all very interesting but as David Cameron himself has said "It never repeats itself exactly". The UUPs failure (in electoral terms) in the last few years is no pointer to what is going to happen.

This really is a new force. It is a very strong force. It has new objectives and it will operate in a new way.

Commenters are totally wrong to write us off before we have fired our first shot in any election campaign.


Yes Trimble made mistakes, not least in failing to link decommissioning to prisoner releases and failing to prepare the grassroots for the agreement. But in his defence he only agreed to go along with the GFA because Blair promised him that he would prevent SF getting into government until there was decommissioning, only for Blair to renege on that promise within a year, some lessons are learned the hard way!

Personally I have always seen myself as a Tory rather than a UUP voter. Mainly because the UUP was for many years allied to the Orange Order, the Rev. Smyth who you refer to being a former Grand Master of that organisation. Now the OO is a fading force and the UUP is far better off without people like Smyth. People in Northern Ireland deserve an alternative to the parochial, sectarian politics of the DUP and SF, I hope we can provide that, it will be long and hard work but it can be done. The current Stormont administration is widely seen as a joke and there are a lot of disenchanted people who with the right campaigning can be won over.

Please stop picking fights with each other and turn attention to the interests of Northern Ireland's people and the need to get rid of the (Gordon)Brown party that is ruining us all through its imcompetence.

Agree completely!

And as for the DUP delivering at Westminster, we've already seen that that means sucking up to Labour over 42 days!
That wasn't sucking up, in fact when they opposed 90 days the previous time they did so not because they were against the idea, but because of unhappiness they had with the government being too liberal over Anti-Terrorism legislation in Ulster, in fact they supported the 90 days, other Ulster parties do much the same thing and the SNP and Plaid Cymru both do as well sometimes supporting Labour governments, sometimes Conservative governments.

Parties such as Sinn Fein\IRA are Fenians as the political wing of the IRA, so are the various other groups under various other names that share similar ambitions and have pursued them through military means - referring to them as Nationalists is giving them status way beyond what they deserve. The formal power sharing system that the Northern Ireland Assembly uses is a total disgrace, it has rewarded decades of bombing by the IRA by giving them pretty much guaranteed access to power.

I don't like the arrangements at Stormont with it's institutionalized sectarianism one bit. But it's there for a reason, namely that NI is a deeply divided society where a significant section of the population feels no affinity to and gives no recognition to the state. I have still to hear someone articulate an alternative to the GFA that would command majority support in both communities. SF are in power because the majority of Nationalists voted for them, we mightn't like that but that is a fact. Owen Patterson has said that he would like to see a move towards voluntary coalition at Stormont, something all the parties, except SF, have stated that they would like to see as a long term goal. SF and the DUP are the ones who want to keep things polarized and divisive as they need such conditions to thrive.

Not saying what seats the DUP will win off SF and/or SDLP? Still stand over that statement?

The SDLP has been in long term decline for years, the UUP has a small majority in North Down, I rather suspect that the coalescing of the Unionist vote more around the DUP will lead to them picking up Belfast South, North Down and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.

Sinn Fein picking up Foyle and South Down.

Alright so that would make it 12 DUP to 6 Sinn Fein, that would still be less than the Ulster Unionist Council had had in the past and there had been points when nearly every MP from Ulster sent to Westminster was Unionist.

If a challenge within Unionism does emerge to the DUP it won't be from the remnants of the UUP which lost it's way under David Trimble, the UKUP and NIUP are both gone.

If the DUP support fragments the most likely outcome is Sinn Fein gaining seats, in fact it was a major worry of the DUP and UUP leaderships at the last General Election that Sinn Fein could take half or more of the seats at Westminster.

I agree with "Nelly", Robert Eve and "Yet Another Anon". The UUP and SDLP are finished and the DUP is the only alternative to Sinn Fein.

I am, of course, delighted that the Conservatives have made the mistake of backing the UUP. I look forward to Lady Hermon's defection as she will never vote with the Tories.

Lots of big assumptions there!

The SDLP are still quite strong in Foyle and Durkan has a sizable personal vote. This is reflected in the fact that SF have pulled McGuinness and Mitchell McLoughlin out of Foyle to fight in other seats. Who are they going to run against Durkan? The political titan that is Martina Anderson?

South Down is interesting. Catriona Ruane has managed to annoy just about everyone with her incompetence over academic selection. Margaret Ritchie has probably performed better in her brief and I would make her a slight favourite. The best candidate in that seat is actually the DUP's Jim Wells and it's an indictment of the way people in NI judge people on narrow sectarian labels and not on their ability that he is not and is unlikely ever to be the MP for that seat.

FST is even more uncertain. Foster may pick up more votes but past experience has shown that in such circumstances, Nationalists pile in behind the most likely green winner, for example Mid-Ulster in 1997 and West Tyrone in 2001. I would expect Gildernew to hang on.

This will do nothing to help the party nationally because the DUP are so dominate now in Northern Ireland the UUP are basically a party that stands little chance of any widespread electoral success. The election will be decided in England not in Northern Ireland.

"are so dominate"?

Quite apart from the inevitable Jock Stale grammatical error, this is a counter-intuitive, glib assumption. Parties lose seats and regain them all the time - they gain and lose them. The tide ebbs and flows once every day.

We would all be ill-advised to make predictions like that.

So far as the EU elections go - Jim Nicholson has a fight on to remain an MEP, it was very close between him and the SDLP candidate for third place in 2004, DUP and Sinn Fein number one and two respectively again.

I would agree with that but as for the order that SF and DUP finish in I wouldn't be so sure. Not that I want TUV to win that seat, but they could take votes off the DUP. Although as with the UUP and the Orange Order, the DUP will be better off in the long run without that constituency!

Interesting times ahead!

Can anyone tell me why all mention of the UUP have been removed from conservativesandunionists.com

Is this the way we can be expected to be treated? I thought this was a partnership not a takeover!

Although I personally welcome this move I really do believe that it is the UUP's last ditch attempt to gain power in NI. It is clear that their era of control in NI is over. Their outdated policies which originate from their traditional middle class view simply do not enthuse the NI electorate. They are considered the 'old' party in NI and have no female MLA's. They are not the type of party the electorate want. They want a vibrant rejuvinated party which can propel NI into the 21st Century.

As for joining with the DUP that person clearly does not live in NI and if they are a member of the party they should have a closer looks at the DUP's policies.

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