Cllr’s expulsion was financial not ideological, says UUP

10 04 2010

Earlier this week, Ulster Unionist Ards councillor Jeffrey Magill told the Ards Chronicle that he was backing DUP candidate Jim Shannon for Strangford. The Belfast Telegraph then reported that a UUP councillor had been expelled for supporting the DUP.

Not so, say the UUP.

A UUP guy says that Councillors (like the DUP and all other main parties) are required to make a small contribution to the party as mandated in 2006 by the UUP Executive. And apparently Jeff failed to bring himself into line despite many opportunities to do so. So he got expelled, erm, about six months ago.

So the sequencing would then be that he backed the DUP after he was sent packing by the UUP.

UUP guy says:

“So an ex UUP Councillor, expelled for failing to meet basic party requirements, supports the DUP candidate over Mike Nesbitt. Surprise, surprise.”

The story, and Jeff’s support, doesn’t carry quite the same weight in this context.

Either way, the DUP are delighted needless to say.

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14 responses

10 04 2010
Whisper

Very bad, not paying the party that got you elected and then turning on your colleagues out of spite.

If this is true then Magill has realy gone down in my estimations.

11 04 2010
Anon

Regardless of the whys and wherefore’s, losing councillors during an election or having councillors endorsing other parties is a sign of trouble (Nelson and Kirkpatrick during the Euros?). Also if Jeff Magill was expelled from the UUP why was he still listed on Ards BC website as a UUP councillor? Why did he still sit – “with the full rights and responsibilities (snigger!)” – in the UUP Council Group in Ards. I would suggest your UUP source must try harder!

11 04 2010
bobballs

The UUP didn’t lose a cllr during an election. Also, Magill’s endorsement loses impact when you consider he had gone his own way several months ago.

I can’t answer for the Ards website – as Alan in Belfast would tell you, council websites are not always the most up to date creatures on the interweb.

The information is double sourced. I’m satisfied that Jeff’s position outlined above is correct.

So this is definitely not a story about a UUP cllr being won over by the DUP ideas and being martyred for his political principle.

But while I suspect this isn’t the coup that the DUP initially thought it was, there’s no doubt they’ll be delighted with Jeff’s support (in spite of the seeming opaqueness in context).

11 04 2010
fair_deal

If he was kicked out months ago why was the council not informed. He is still listed as an Ulster Unionist
http://www.ards-council.gov.uk/the-council/councillors/councillor-jeffrey-magill-uup-.php
Neither was the UUP MLA McNarry pushing the financial claim in yesterday’s Tele
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/election/uup-man-expelled-for-backing-party-rival-14762368.html

11 04 2010
Anon

Nice attempt at a side-step. Why did he still sit in the UUP Group if he’d been expelled? Council websites might well take a time to up-date but 6 months? Come on!

11 04 2010
Anon

Also, I never said it was about being won over by ideas or martyred for principle’s sake, nor to be fair does Jeff Magill, he says Jim Shannon is the best person to be the MP for Strangford. Which, of course, is true.

11 04 2010
thefreshthinking

If he was expelled 6 months ago why have the UUP only got round to telling us now?

11 04 2010
Anon

TFT

Good point!!!

11 04 2010
bobballs

Guys – you’re inviting me to speculate on the ards council website; mcnarry’s statement; and timing etc. In truth, i don’t know.

A couple of good UUP sources of info said the sequence is that magill was expelled months prior to the endorsement. I’m happy about the quality of the information so i blogged it.

So on the basis of what i heard, the DUP got endorsed by (to all intents and purposes) an independent cllr in Ards. Thought that was worth posting up.

Anon – i did not say you had either. that’s how the endorsement might appear to some people. imho that is not entirely justified for the reasons set out above.

re. shannon’s candidacy – no, that’s not true. that’s subjective opinion to which you’re very much entitled 😉

11 04 2010
fair_deal

“you’re inviting me to speculate on the ards council website; mcnarry’s statement; and timing etc. In truth, i don’t know.”

So you’ll blog/comment/speculate on what two UUers who want to avoid embarrassment told you but become coy about when others highlight information in the public domain that puts those claims under serious question. Fair enough 😉

12 04 2010
bobballs

Ah now, fair deal. I blogged detail based on information supplied by 2 separate sources. That info was more substantive than speculation, I stand by my post. but wait! Surely the DUP wouldn’t allow the idea persist that this chap was recently UUP just to enhance the impact of a story now would it? Oops, get me, speculating again! 🙂

12 04 2010
Carson's Cat

Your story may or may not actually be completely technically accurate. Yet questions still exist.

If he was bucked out months ago then why was/is there such confusion over his actual status? If he was expelled then it seems that very few people, even within Ards Council knew it.

Also – I’d suggest that even if your story is 100% accurate its not going to warrant a front page headline in the local paper in the way his backing of Shannon did.

Therefore you possibly will win the battle of pedantry which I’m sure Jim Shannon will enjoy musing on during those flights to Westminster.

12 04 2010
Carson's Cat

Oh and re your reply to Fair Deal.

So what if the DUP did ‘push’ the idea that he was more recently involved with the UUP than he might have been (if indeed we believe the entire premise of your post on this subject).

It that is the case then its a f**k-up of even more monumental proportions on the part of the UUP that they allowed the story to be portrayed in the way it has been. UUP sources were quoted in the story which didn’t make a single one of those points.

#fail all round for the UUP press office.

13 04 2010
Shuffling Geisha

On a point of order, counting on the Ards Borough Council’s website, or for that matter any council website, for what party a cllr is with is dodgy. Terry Williams and George Ennis were still on it as DUP for months after they left that particular cabal.

I too have it on the highest authority that Jeff was indeed expelled before Christmas for failing to pay the palty £20 a month cllrs are asked to pay to the UUP. He had not paid it in two years and was given many opportunities to bring himself back in good standing before the decision was taken to expel him.

Indeed for the UUP to expel anyone is almost unheard of so you can be assured it was a last resort.

From what I understand, he was also very rarely at council meetings.

To have him then come out and back Shannon was either a very cynical piece of politics or a desperate piece of journalism, one or other.

In the bigger picture it meant little.

The problem came over how the UUP communicated this or as the case was did not.

A party officer told me on Thursday a press release would be issued in response to the DUP release based on the Chronicle story.

However it was not and the Belfast Telegraph picked up on the story in Saturdays paper by which time the UUP still had not issued a press release correcting the wrong version of events which was out there.

David McNarry is quoted in the Bel Tel piece as confirming that Jeff had been expelled but he never said he had been expelled for backing Shannon. The headline was therefore misleading.

It all could have been prevented with a simple press release.

Time for the Dundela crew to return to mothership and worry about more pressing issues like say getting a few posters up in one of their most winnable seats – south Belfast.

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