If Hermon intends to contest the next election, and if she has any sense of integrity, she will align herself explicitly with the Labour party.
Sir Reg Empey issued the following statement in response to Lady Sylvia's interview:
The Party Officers and Executive Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party have unanimously agreed, with the Conservative Party, to jointly endorse her UUP colleague Jim Nicholson as the 'Conservatives and Unionists' candidate in the Euro Election.
"The leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party is disappointed that Lady Hermon, in the middle of an election campaign, has chosen to give a series of interviews in which she has challenged Party policy and the collective decisions taken by her colleagues.
"Throughout last year and into 2009, we held many discussions at Party Executive level, held roadshows for our members on numerous occasions and ultimately put proposals for a Memorandum of Understanding to our Executive for approval. This very democratic process resulted in two separate meetings of our Executive where the relevant decisions were taken on unanimous recommendations from our Party Officers. At these well attended meetings not a single vote was cast against the proposals. At both of these meetings, our North Down constituency was fully represented by all its delegates who unanimously voted in favour of the proposals.
"Her own position is not an issue in the present campaign. She was assured last year that she would not be required to take the Conservative Party whip in the lifetime of the present Parliament. Candidate selection for the General Election is not yet underway, meaning that any decisions regarding her own selection process in North Down do not have to be made at this point. This makes the timing of her statements all the more disappointing.
“The Ulster Unionist Party and Conservative Party will continue with our joint campaign to bring real change to politics in Northern Ireland. We will continue with our campaign to create a new political and electoral force which offers the electorate here an opportunity to be part and parcel of a new pan-UK unionism.
"I want it to be clear that we have charted a democratic course for the UUP which has been fully endorsed by our Party. Having come through the traumas of the Belfast Agreement, where we had to ask people to work with self confessed republicans, I am confident that working with a Conservative Party which is enthusiastically committed to the Union and the end of British Government neutrality on Northern Ireland, will prove attractive to our members and the wider pro-Union electorate"