Slugger picks up on a newspaper story that Ian Parsley is set to defect to the Ulster Unionists. The Alliance European election candidate promises a comment later in the day, but observes that the report contains 'substantial inaccuracies', on his blog.
There are inaccuracies and inaccuracies however. If Parsley joins the Conservatives and Unionists, and I believe it will be the Conservative party which he is likely to favour, after taking a job with Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice, then he becomes the most significant defection yet. He's young, articulate, moderate and would make a great parliamentary candidate for North Down.
In addition, because he is named after a foodstuff, he is very much my two and a half year old niece's favourite politician.
Update: Parsley has claimed that he has 'no plans to switch' (according to a BBC report). However he also said he would consider over the weekend whether his new job made membership of Alliance 'untenable'. And the BBC's political reporter, Stephen Walker, claims to have seen an email which reveals Parsley has been assessed as a potential Conservative and Unionist candidate.
Further update: Ian has now announced officially his departure from Alliance. He will remain a councillor in North Down, taking the Conservative designation, as I indicated earlier.
Not an especially slick defection, but at least now the deed is done.