Category: Archive

UK Unionist row spells trouble for McCartney

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST — The UK Unionist Party, led by Robert McCartney, was riven by division last week as the party’s other four assembly members said they could no longer support his leadership.

The disaffected members are Paddy Roche, Cedric Williams, Norman Boyd and Roger Hutchinson. It is not known whether the four would challenge McCartney for leadership of the party or defect back to the Ulster Unionist Party.

It’s understood the row was sparked by McCartney claiming they were more interested in their £35,000 assembly salaries than principle after the four said they would not be willing to resign their seats in the event of Sinn Fein becoming full ministers in a power-sharing Executive. McCartney is a millionaire.

McCartney has accused the dissidents of petty, internal wrangling. He has refused to resign from the party and, as the party has no constitution, it’s unclear if he is still leader, or if the deputy leader, Cedric Wilson (the man who shouted "No" at President Clinton during his 1995 visit to Belfast) is now de facto leader.

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