BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Help
BBC Onepolitics show

MORE PROGRAMMES

Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
No more 'Decent People'
Robin Sheeran
Robin Sheeran
The Politics Show Northern Ireland

David Trimble
David Trimble casts his vote in May 2005

The defection of Lord Trimble to the Conservative Party has, once again, raised questions about the future of the Ulster Unionists.

The party's slide from the leadership of unionism has been dramatic and seemingly irreversible.

You have to give credit to Sir Reg Empey.

He was elected leader of the UUP following the party's disastrous showing in the 2005 general election: "pass the poisoned chalice, David".

Changed stance

The new leader's initial instinct was to move away from the disastrous "Decent People Vote Ulster Unionist" approach of the 2005 campaign.

Sir Reg Empey
Credit due to Sir Reg Empey?

In his first leader's speech to a party Annual General Meeting in March 2006, Sir Reg declared:

"Lessons have been learned. There will be no more Simply British. No more Decent People.

"No more making it up as we go along. No more cabals running the show."

Back to grassroots

Instead, he attempted to turn the party's attention to grassroots unionism.

But efforts to move loyalist paramilitary organisations away from illegal activity into the political process met with resistance from within the party.

The UUP's sole remaining Westminster MP, Sylvia Hermon, openly criticised Sir Reg's proposed assembly hook-up with the Progressive Unionist Party.

It was seen by many as a step too close to the UVF.

The alliance was ultimately ruled out-of-order by the Speaker, but the damage had already been done.

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams
Ian Paisley criticised over his meeting with Gerry Adams

Ulster Unionist anger

As the DUP has moved towards doing a deal with Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionist anger at having their political clothes stolen has grown.

Reg Empey criticised Ian Paisley not for meeting Gerry Adams but for doing so in the full glare of the television lights.

The UUP would never have given Sinn Fein the free publicity, he claimed.

As this year's AGM approaches, reports are surfacing of renewed infighting in the party leadership

Jim Fitzpatrick
Jim Fitzpatrick presents Politics Show Northern Ireland

Politics Show

This week on Politics Show from Northern Ireland, Rosy Billingham looks at Sir Reg Empey's latest plans to revive the party's fortunes.

Can he combine the job of Minister for Employment and Learning with restructuring the UUP?

Be sure to join presenter Jim Fitzpatrick for Politics Show from Northern Ireland - Sunday 22 April 2007 at 14:00 BST on BBC One.

You get a second chance to see the programme again that night, at 22:55 GMT on BBC One.

Let us know what you think.


Send us your comments:

Name:
Your E-mail address:
Country:
Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.



THE POLITICS SHOW... FROM DOWNING STREET TO YOUR STREET



Politics from around the UK...
 
SEARCH THE POLITICS SHOW:
 





Billy, Antrim

Anon

Previous stories...
 


LATEST NEWS

ANALYSIS

BACKGROUND

ELECTION RESULTS

KEY PEOPLE PROFILED
 
POLITICAL LINKS
 
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

SEE ALSO
Governments proceed with NI plan
10 Nov 06 |  Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
11 Sep 05 |  Politics Show

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific