Jeff Peel doesn't reveal any sources, but on his (Public) Diary blog he suggests that the Alliance Party is set to 'support' Sylvia Hermon 'rather than' Ian Parsley in the North Down race for Westminster.
How this support would manifest itself is not made clear. Conservatives and Unionists have not selected a candidate for North Down, but the former Alliance man, Parsley, has been nominated and it is thought that the Conservative party is unlikely to countenance an endorsement of the current Ulster Unionist MP.
Is Alliance set to intervene in another party's selection process or is it prepared not to stand in North Down, should Sylvia Hermon decide to contest the seat as an independent? Perhaps, within the party, there is simply a preference for a figure considered to be left liberal, rather than a recent defector?
After all, whether or not, as Jeff contends, Alliance voters are intrinsically sympathetic to the Conservatives, its leadership are a rather different case.
An intriguing, but rather confusing, piece of gossip.