Thursday, 4 February 2010

McCann still 'geared up' for a tilt at South Belfast

Something of a 'Three Thousand Versts' exclusive I believe. It is my understanding that last night's UUP executive meeting may have thrown open the possibility of the three 'withdrawn' Conservative hopefuls re-entering the race for Westminster.

Peter McCann, Sheila Davidson and Deirdre Nelson offered their resignations after 'unionist unity' talks came to light, but their respective Conservative associations have not accepted them.

Officially the triumvirate are still Conservative nominees, due to be considered by the Joint Committee of Tories and Ulster Unionists as UCUNF candidates.

I spoke to McCann yesterday afternoon and he made it clear that the UUP has now dealt, to his satisfaction, with two of the main objections which led to his withdrawal.

There are, he intimated, still matters to be resolved, but the Ulster Unionists' commitment to a definite time-frame for selection, and the executive's repudiation of 'bogus' unity talks, are two hurdles overcome.

The former Top Gear producer spoke passionately about his hopes for the future. He seems genuinely committed to delivering something different to Northern Irish politics.

Clearly his outspoken criticism of the UUP in recent weeks, whether or not it was fuelled by understandable frustration, might remain an insurmountable barrier to his selection. However, along with Paula Bradshaw, he is one of a pair of prospective candidates for South Belfast who offer a fresh and exciting perspective.

A 'New Force'? 'Time for change'? If the slogans are to be taken seriously, new faces like Davidson, McCann and Nelson ought to be in the mix.


Conquistador said...

The upsets here seemed to emerge because of the suggestion that the DUP won't be contesting Belfast South or Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

People like yourself Cherkov and Ms Davidson have argued extensively against unionist pacts (almost to the point of obsession!)

But if the DUP choose not to enter either race then what can we do? Meanwhile everyone in Northern Ireland still have their opportunity to vote UCUNF. It's NOT a pact.

But it seems that the antipact squad got so wound up that they were relishing the chance of DUP and UCUNF denying each other victory, and had resolved themselves to lose. When the prospect of victory came along, it seemed alien and there were resignations here there and everywhere!

Chekov said...

The 'upsets' were caused by what would be given in return and whether it would undermine foundational principles of the 'New Force'.

rutherford said...

Encouraging to note he hasn't thrown in the towel just yet.

It'll be interesting to see if the constituency associations will get their arse in gear now or prevaricate further.

Gary said...

He would represent South Belfast and he would get my vote! Get him back in!!