As Gordon Brown visits Belfast this week, Politicalbetting.com asks whether he or David Cameron could end up relying on Ian Paisley’s Ulster Unionists after the next election:
All very hypothetical and unlikely, but remember: The UUP helped John Major during the 90’s when his majority was disappearing. In 1979 2 Nationalist MP’s (Gerry Fitt and Frank Maguire) abstained in the vote of no confidence – which Labour [lost] by one vote. (politicalbetting.com)
My own thoughts from the comments:
This came up at a public meeting the other day in Portcullis House. The SF West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty gave pretty much the same assessment of the DUP: “Most people think Paisley will never share power with the other parties, let alone SF.”
The Labour MP Stephen Pound, who is on the NI select committee, said the DUP people he was talking to were more interested in the balance of power at Westminster, than in sharing power at Stormont.
Doherty said that he’s had a lot of dialogue with the Tories, and his understanding was that they accept the Good Friday Agreement.
For me this comment confirmed the impression I’d formed of Gerry Adams’ remarks in Madrid, where he compared the Tories role in the peace process favourably to the Spanish Conservatives’ approach to its Basque equivalent.
I can’t imagine SF being happy about the prospect of a Tory Government, but they’re obviously not blind to the way the odds have shortened.