So the UUP Executive met last night. Five things happened:
1. Empey confirmed there’s to be no merger with the DUPs (we hate those guys):
I can categorically say that rumours of a merger with the DUP are untrue. No deal has been agreed and no formal link with the party has been made.
The UUP notes that for most of its existence the DUP was splitting and demoralising the unionist electorate in general and our party in particular.
2. Empey admitted to liking a link up with the DUPs for the Assembly election (we love those guys):
Discussions had taken place with the DUP in relation to the proposed upcoming Assembly election but no commitments were made. The code used is they discussed ‘how to best secure the future of political institutions in Northern Ireland’; which of course means they discussed ‘doing everything under the sun to make sure Martin doesn’t emerge as FM’.
Could the UUP & DUP yet form a pact for the Assembly election? Well, maybe, because… …
3. The UUP Executive made an Assembly election slightly more likely:
The Executive Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party support the policy that Policing and Justice should not be devolved in the present context of a dysfunctional Stormont Executive.
There can be no way the UUP will be allowed to mess around with (what Durkan describes as) ‘the architecture of the agreement’. As P&J would likely be devolved into the present context, how could Robinson get his community confidence without UUP support? Go go snap Assembly election…
4. Empey confirmed the link up with the Tory Party for the Westminster election:
Empey told his Executive (and those bloody bloggers!):
In light of recent press commentary and blogging sources I wish to stress that we are 100 per cent committed to our relationship with the Conservative Party. It is Party policy – it has been agreed by this Executive and it is something that the Ulster Unionist Party is very proud of.
It was agreed that the Joint Committee would resolve to put candidates forward as soon as possible given the ongoing fluid situation over policing and justice.
5. And a third unanimous vote supporting the Tory link means…
The end of Sylvia Hermon as a UUP member. What now Sylvia? Well, I think Jesus put it best when he said: ‘Get up, pick up your mat and walk.’
PS. Quite right UUP re. speedy selections. About time. Actually, I’ve noticed that Mike Nesbitt has been receiving a few new pals on facebook – who happen to be Ulster Unionists!! I wonder do they have a reason to be liking him more than usual?
PPS. Presumably the DUP will now restart candidate selections for Westminster. Interested to see who emerges from that…