TUV leader Allister says DUP bluffing

Conference told party stance on victims, flags and opposition to SF in government will pay poll dividends

Jim Allister: No way the DUP will have two candidates. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Jim Allister: No way the DUP will have two candidates. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA


Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has accused the DUP of bluffing over its tactics in

May’s European Parliament elections.

Addressing his party’s annual conference in Co Tyrone at the weekend, Mr Allister said: “The DUP has been suggesting they might run two candidates. They won’t. Last time they fought the European election their candidate held on by her fingernails to creep in for the third seat sub-quota. There’s no way they’ll be fighting with two candidates.”

He said the suggestion was an effort to “bamboozle” the Ulster Unionists.

Mr Allister was a DUP MEP following the retirement from politics of the former DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley. He left the party in opposition to power-sharing with Sinn Féin and went on to found the TUV. He lost his seat at the Euro election.

His jibes at the leading unionist party represent the first exchanges in the election battle which will illustrate the balance of power within unionism. It is the only election in which the whole of Northern Ireland is treated as a single constituency. Mr Allister’s conference address also greeted “Ann’s Law” – a measure to prevent former paramilitaries from taking up special adviser positions at Stormont and included an attack on Sinn Féin’s role in the executive.

The new rule is named after Ann Travers whose sister was shot dead by the IRA and whose father was shot six times and badly injured as they left Mass in south Belfast in 1984.

“The passage of Ann’s Law was a huge win for innocent victims and the first significant political defeat for Sinn Féin since the Belfast Agreement,” Mr Allister said. He also trumpeted the decision not to proceed with the proposed peace and reconciliation centre at the site of the former Maze prison which was supported initially by the DUP.

The year-long protests over the decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the Union flag at City Hall to just 18 days a year was prompting unionists to switch their alliance to his party, he claimed.