14/05/2009

Empey 'Disappointed' By Sole MP Hermon

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey (pictured here) has blasted the party's sole MP for distancing herself from a Tory link-up in the run up to the European elections.

Sir Reg said Lady Hermon's decision to publicly denounce the pact was disappointing, particularly as the UUP's MEP candidate Jim Nicholson was standing under a Conservative and Unionist banner.

Lady Hermon has hinted she may stand as an independent at the next general election, after insisting she is "not a Tory", adding she "never has been, never will be".

The North Down parliamentarian's stance on the alliance has been widely commented upon in recent months.

Lady Hermon failed to officially back the move, with many predicting she had effectively withdrawn support for the voting merger, despite meeting with top members from the Conservative Shadow Cabinet, including Opposition Leader David Cameron.

Insisting she was elected as an Ulster Unionist, Lady Hermon said yesterday: "At the present time, I can't see myself standing under a Conservative banner,
News Image
"If my party chooses to move to call themselves by a different name, I'm terribly sorry and terribly disappointed by that but I remain an Ulster Unionist.

"That was certainly my mandate and I've loved serving the people of North Down.

"They have stood by me through the most difficult of times and if they choose and wish me to serve them I would do my very best to do that."

Responding to Lady Hermon's comments, Sir Reg said: "The leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party is disappointed that Lady Hermon, in the middle of an election campaign, has chosen to give a series of interviews in which she has challenged party policy and the collective decisions taken by her colleagues."

He said Lady Hermon had not been forced to take the Conservative whip during this parliament, adding that a decision on who will stand for her North Down seat at the next general election is yet to be made.

Today, PUP Leader Dawn Purvis, writing on her 'Twitter' page, said: "Sylvia Hermon is a very hard working MP and I have no doubt she will receive all the support she needs from the people of North Down."

(PR/BMcc)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 December 2019
GE 2019 Sees Historic Conservative Win
While Northern Ireland is now represented by a majority of nationalist MPs, the general UK-wide picture of the 2019 General Election shows a huge victory for the Conservatives, their best result since 1987.
08 January 2020
Green Party Issues Message Of Support For Those Struggling
Deputy Leader of Northern Ireland's Green Party Mal O'Hara has spoken out after a number of people lost their lives to suicide in recent times. Mal O'Hara, who sits on the board of a local suicide prevention charity, has highlighted the support available for anyone who may be struggling.
07 November 2019
Lady Hermon Stands Down As North Down MP
Lady Sylvia Hermon has confirmed that she will not contest the General Election. The Independent unionist MP held the seat for North Down since 2001. Warm tributes have been flooding in from across the political spectrum following the announcement.
06 March 2020
Stormont Speaker Warned Of 'Imminent Attack' Against Him
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly has been informed of an "imminent attack" against him. Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey revealed he had been visited by the PSNI on Thursday and told a threat had been received.
18 February 2020
Dissidents Plan Car Bomb Attack On Sinn Fein
Dissident republicans are planning an attack on a member of Sinn Fein using an under car explosive device, the party's deputy leader has said. Michelle O'Neill said her party was informed on Monday night, 17 February, of the New IRA plot. She was informed the attack could take place "anywhere in the north" and against any of the party members.