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Statement by Reg Empey (UUP) on the decision not to recognise the UUP Assembly Group association with David Ervine (PUP), (11 September 2006)

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Text: Reg Empey ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Reg Empey, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), on the decision by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly not to recognise the Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group association with David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), (11 September 2006)


"In May we acted in good faith under the standing orders, to maximise unionist representation, and at that time the Speaker accepted our position. However, following an intervention by the DUP Deputy Leader, Peter Robinson, she has changed her mind. This we regret, as the consequence is a promotion of Sinn Fein into second place in the Assembly, a position which was not given to them by the electorate in 2003.

Leaving aside the possibility that we could see a change to the number of Ministerial positions, thereby not altering the number that we would be entitled to receive, no negotiation can alter the fact that what the DUP has done by intervening on Sinn Feinís behalf, is guarantee that Gerry Adams will have second choice ahead of fellow unionists.

One may well ask why is the DUP doing Sinn Feinís dirty work for it?

But they have form on this. In 2001 the DUP backed an independent unionist candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone who openly declared that he would prefer to see Sinn Fein win the seat rather than the UUP candidate. Despite this outburst, the DUP continued to support him and Sinn Fein won the last unionist seat in the west of the Province. In 2005, the DUP made impossible demands of us and put up a candidate in South Belfast, thus ensuring that that seat went to a nationalist for the first time ever.

It appears to us, that the DUP is prepared to see anybody elected or promoted as long as it damages fellow unionists in the UUP. There is no other logical explanation."


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