Ulster Conservatives and Unionists

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Ulster Conservatives and Unionists
Ulster Unionist Leader Sir Reg Empey MLA (2009-10)
Tom Elliott MLA (2010-12)
Conservative Leader David Cameron MP (2009-12)
Founded 2009
Dissolved 2012
Ideology Unionism
Political position Centre-right
National affiliation Ulster Unionist Party
Conservative Party
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European Parliament group European Conservatives and Reformists
Colours Blue, Green

The Ulster Conservatives and Unionists, officially registered as the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force (UCUNF), was a bipartisan electoral alliance in Northern Ireland between the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Northern Ireland branch of the Conservative Party in 2009 and 2010, the latter party also being active throughout the rest of the United Kingdom. There is no formally constituted group with this name; instead, the name was a registered description of the UUP[1] and of the Conservative Party.[2] The two parties separated in 2012.[3]

2009 European Parliament campaign

The alliance was launched in 2009 though the Vice-Chairman of Conservatives NI, Jeffrey Peel, resigned from the Joint Committee created by both parties.[4]

Conservatives and Unionists candidates were first selected for the 2009 European Parliament election, and will also be used for general elections to the UK House of Commons in Northern Ireland.[5] The first candidate to stand for election using this description was Ulster Unionist Jim Nicholson in the 2009 European Parliament election.[6] He polled 82,893 votes, 17.0% of the total, and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

2010 UK general election campaign

Banner from the 2010 UK general election campaign, showing joint use by the Conservative Party and Ulster Unionist Party of the "Vote For Change" slogan.

On 24 February 2010, the alliance announced 9 of the 18 candidates who were to run in the 2010 United Kingdom general election.[7] The UUP's sole Member of Parliament (MP) from the 2005 general election, Sylvia, Lady Hermon for North Down, had expressed public dissatisfaction with the arrangement since early in 2009,[8] and left the UUP in March 2010, deciding to contest the forthcoming general election as an Independent.[9] As such, the alliance had no incumbent MPs. On 7 April 2010 the candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Tom Elliott, withdrew in favour of Independent Rodney Connor, leaving that constituency without a UCUNF candidate.[10]

'As things stand, Northern Ireland MPs need to be involved in decisions about their lives that are not devolved. I want the most talented people to form my government and that will mean people from all corners of the UK. Why are there great Ulstermen and women on our television screens, in our boardrooms and in our military but not in our Cabinet? The semi-detached status of Northern Ireland politics needs to end. This is not true representative democracy and it has got to change.'

— David Cameron[11]

The Conservative & UUP alliance failed to gain any seats in the election. The UUP lost their only seat in North Down to Sylvia Hermon's independent campaign, and Connor also lost Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Across Northern Ireland, the joint share of the vote was 15.2%.

End of the alliance

After failed calls for the UUP to disband and join the Conservatives, on 14 June 2012 the Conservatives in NI were relaunched as 'NI Conservatives'.[12]

Electoral results

European Parliament

Election First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
2009 82,892 17.0%
1 / 3


Election House of Commons Share of votes Seats +/- Outcome
2010 55th 15.2%
0 / 18
Decrease 1 No seats


Election Body First preference votes Vote % Seats Outcome
2011 4th Assembly 87,531 13.2%
16 / 108


  1. ^ http://search.electoralcommission.org.uk/English/Registrations/PP83
  2. ^ http://search.electoralcommission.org.uk/English/Registrations/PP52
  3. ^ "Can rebranded Northern Ireland Conservatives deliver?". BBC News. 14 June 2012. 
  4. ^ NI, BBC (6 March 2009). "Conservative quits over UUP pact". The BBC. London. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "UUP / Conservative talks – What it means for you?". Ulster Unionist Party. 12 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "European Election 2009 results" (PDF). Electoral Office of Northern Ireland. 
  7. ^ "Tories and UUP agree candidates". BBC News. 24 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Hermon: why she rejected Tory deal Belfast Telegraph, 14 May 2009
  9. ^ "MP Lady Sylvia Hermon quits Ulster Unionists". BBC News. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Unionists agree NI constituency pact". RTÉ News. 7 April 2010. 
  11. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/dec/07/conservatives-david-cameron-northern-ireland
  12. ^ Polley, Owen (14 June 2012). "NI Conservatives launch as fresh, centre-right party, in Belfast". NI Conservatives. Belfast. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 

External links

  • Vote for Change – Conservatives and Unionists
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