Lord Trimble, the Conservative peer, has signaled his impatience with the current party set up in Northern Ireland and speculated that it might change. Lord Trimble, who even when he was UUP Leader, often spoke about the need to abandon the ‘nationalist framework of reference’ and move into the UK political mainstream, was writing for the Daily Telegraph.
In a wide ranging article to mark the anniversary of the Belfast Agreement Lord Trimble notes that there is more to politics than simply those things that are devolved and on the need to be involved in the political parties of the UK:
“there are those other issues which will not be devolved. Defence, foreign policy, taxation, public expenditure, the broad thrust of public and social policy are all the purview of Westminster, where all but two Northern Ireland MPs are double hatted as Assembly Members and many triple hatted as Ministers as well.
It may be interesting to see for how long the electors are content with largely absent representation - indeed to see for how much longer they remain content with a party structure that reflects an age which may now be ending.”
Does this reflect a frustration with Sir Reg Empey and the other leaders of the UUP? Does Trimble think they should be leading the UUP into a merger with his new party, the Conservatives? Or does he think that were he has jumped others should follow?