Conservative Chairman in Northern Ireland tenders resignation over UUP deal
Irwin Armstrong Chairman of the Conservatives in Northern Ireland today announced his will submit his resignation to the Northern Ireland Executive, he said
‘It is no longer tenable for me to remain as Chairman after I was informed by our party Co Chairman and N.I. Secretary of State some weeks ago that the Prime Minister had decided we would be running candidates in Northern Ireland in both Assembly and local council elections and I accepted their word, informed my Executive and key activists, and prepared press releases on that basis, I was then asked to wait until the leader of the UUP had been informed before we issued any releases.
I was then informed last night, after a meeting was held with the UUP leader and without further discussion with the Conservatives in NI, that the former relationship with the UUP was to continue and we would not be running candidates in the Assembly election. This despite the clear knowledge of both men since I became Chairman, that I would be unable to accept that decision, as I do not accept that the relationship is in the best interests of the Conservative Party, the people of Northern Ireland and our members here. The decision will effectively disband the Conservatives in NI as the sole reason for a political party is to contest elections and the recruitment of activists will be impossible if all they are offered is council elections and pacts with another party
I had hoped we could build our party as a non sectarian party in Northern Ireland that could honestly represent all. In my opinion the Conservative party has now abandoned any serious attempt to change politics in Northern Ireland and has accepted the narrow one community politics of the UUP to attempt to gain one or two MP’s at the next Westminster election.’Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, there's no doubt that the NI Tories have been led down the garden path by the national party.