Friday, 11 September 2009

Parsley to join Conservatives and Unionists

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.


O'Neill said...

He's young, articulate, moderate and would make a great parliamentary candidate for North Down.

If the rumours turn out to be true, this will be the biggest coup for the whole project so far.
Interesting to see what Lady Sylvia will do in those circumstances...though shouldn't get ahead of myself I suppose!

Anonymous said...

hate to point it out, but the most significant defection was Deirdre Nelson, who quit the DUP before the election. Ian just looks opportunistic by comparison. Or do all political commentators think only men in NI are fit to do the job? At least Ms Nelson didn't inadvertantly leak any emails....

Chekov said...

I beg to differ. Parsley has a higher profile. If Nelson were to stand in North Antrim, and I'd be surprised if she was accepted this time, she wouldn't be a likely winner.

Anonymous said...

She will stand as an Independent Ulster Unionist if she is not selected. I personally can't see the UUP deselecting Lady Hermon, it would outrage an already unethusiastic party base and the more David McNarry fundamentalist unionists. Lady Hermon will poision the UUP-Tory relationship.

Anonymous said...

Under the law she couldnt stand as an Independent Ulster Unionist just 'Independent Unionist'
The party base arent unenthusiastic - and they are realists.
McNarry is a idiot and has no supporters in the party.
Are you suggesting that to keep the semi detached Hermon on board the UUP would snub the next Prime Minister and his party?
After her outburst during Nicholson's campaign there is little sympathy for Hermon among ACTIVe UUs