The Conservatives and Unionists candidate selection procedure has finally started to deliver some results. After months of prevarication the UUP has begun to put bums on seats and, although I understand another deadline has elapsed, an end to the process is in sight.
The main spanner in the works remains Sylvia Hermon. Clearly the UUP is still attempting to broker some type of fudge in order to let her stand, without accepting the UCUNF banner.
After a year of sweeping the 'Lady' under the carpet, the party doesn't appear to have a bin bag into which she will fit. It is a preposterous situation.
Hermon has repeatedly attacked the Conservative arrangement. Even if she were to agree to take the Tory whip at Westminster, her inclusion as a candidate would undermine the deal. And the very fact that discussions are still ongoing already undermines Sir Reg Empey's status as party leader.
The equation is very simple. The Conservatives and Unionists have vowed to field eighteen candidates. Unless Hermon stands as a UCUNF candidate then a basic premise of the pact is broken. Hermon can't be selected as a Conservative and Unionist candidate because she doesn't support the deal. She can't be selected as an Ulster Unionist candidate because the UUP are engaged in an electoral pact!
Ergo - forget Sylvia Hermon and select Ian Parsley!