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Lady Hermon failed to officially back the move, with many predicting she had effectively withdrawn support for the voting merger, despite meeting with top members from the Conservative Shadow Cabinet, including Opposition Leader David Cameron.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


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