Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 11:11 UK

Parsley picked for North Down

Ian Parsley
Ian Parsley stood for Alliance in the European election

Ian Parsley has been selected as the Conservative candidate to fight the North Down seat in the general election, which is expected in May.

Mr Parsley defected to the Tories from the Alliance party earlier this year.

Under an electoral pact a committee of Ulster Unionists (UUP) and Conservatives will have to select a joint candidate for the constituency.

Lady Sylvia Hermon is currently the UUP MP for North Down but she has refused to endorse the pact.

She now has several options:

• To change her mind about the electoral deal with the Conservatives and put herself forward as a candidate.

• To seek a special dispensation from the party leaderships which would allow her to stand for the UUP, outside of the pact.

• To walk away from the UUP and either stand as an independent or withdraw from politics entirely.

Mr Parsley, who was a member of the Conservative Party as a student, was the Alliance Party's European Election candidate earlier this year.

He was first elected to North Down Borough Council in May 2005.

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13 May 09 |  Northern Ireland
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