One of Reg Empey’s aims in overseeing a restructuring of the UUP, is to establish some semblance of coherence and discipline within the party. It is therefore an acute embarrassment that after a successful party conference, a senior party representative has seen fit to attack Margaret Ritchie over her handling of the CTI affair.
David McNarry’s intemperance has been channelled in other unfortunate directions only a short while ago and it seems there is a pointed determination by this MLA (who views himself as leadership material) to veer off the party line.
One of the party’s strengths has long been its capacity to encompass a plurality of opinions and this is certainly an admirable and democratic tradition. Increasingly however, there has been a realisation that there must be some form of discipline in order to present before the electorate, something resembling a coherent message.
The fact that Mr McNarry consistently expresses opinions which are not in keeping with the type of constructive unionism the party wishes to advance, in conjunction with the reality that he is speaking for a small proportion of his fellow party members, should galvanise the party leadership to take action against him.