Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Empey won't double job after all - UUP keeps the moral high-ground.

When the UUP included Lord Empey on its candidate list for the Assembly election I accused the party of attempting to wriggle out of commitments on double mandates on a technicality.  Eamonn Mallie reports that the former Ulster Unionist leader will not now contest his seat in East Belfast.  He notes "Reg Empey has set the bar on double-jobbing".  You can't say fairer than that.  Credit to the UUP for doing the right thing in this instance and taking the moral high-ground.


Anonymous said...

I take the contrary view, for a change.

If the UUP has "the moral high ground", why was his Lordship selected in the first place?

This has more to do with the real risk of annihilation at the hands of a DUP which has "taken the moral high ground" than about real morals. After all, this is the same Reg Empey who remained a Councillor even while a Minister - no scruples there!

DR said...

Anon, he was not a Lord when selected, although it was strongly rumoured at the time, until actually confirmed you cant take any political appointment for granted. It was also rumoured at the time he would stand down when en-nobled, it has been a bit longer than most expected but there is probably also a reason for that.

As for Cllr. he stood down pretty soon after the co-option system was introduced, up till then a costly bi-election would normally have been required.

The most basis Moral High Ground is telling the truth, the DUP have failed on that when they said they would end double jobbing, with Gregory holding on for no real reason, and Sammy for half a one.

Party Chairman, Chief Whip, Jusice Committee Chairman, Councilor, and Peer of the Realm, Lord Maurice Morrow MLA, of course takes the honours for showing how to do loads of jobs badly at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Good old Reg dithering to the bitter end. He has now prevented a new candidate getting known and must end all chances of a UUP revival in East Belfast

Anonymous said...

the DUP have failed on that when they said they would end double jobbing,.....

have you even read DUP policy on this?? the DUP have clearly said it would phase out dual mandates by 2015

sorry to burst your bubble

Anonymous said...


Firstly, he knew fine rightly he was being ennobled and, in any case, this was confirmed months ago. In fact Reg's decision happens to coincide exactly with the DUP's decision not to run Lord Browne. Funny, that.

Secondly, there have been no by-elections in Belfast City Council since its inception in 1973 due to an agreement that co-options would be used in preference to co-options. So he could have stood down at any time.

Thirdly, he actually took considerably longer than SDLP MLAs (note MLAs, not even Ministers), even after co-option became law.

So let's deal with the truth: the UUP never cared about double-jobbing until it could no longer double-job because of electoral wipe-out. This is just a desperate attempt at differentiation. But since the electorate continues to return double jobbers, even this ruse won't work because the voters aren't interested.