That seems to be the DUP’s message to the UUP. The DUP has announced that it will not stand in North Down in order to not “oppose a sitting Unionist Member of Parliament”. The fact that that ‘sitting Unionist Member’ is the same Sylvia Hermon who just quit the UUP is, no doubt, entirely irrelevant. The fact also that the only possible alternative to Hermon would be some other brand of unionist is also ignored. There is no chance whatsoever of a nationalist winning North Down this side of rapture.
So the DUP are essentially saying to the UUP – in very unsubtle terms – ‘you refuse to play ball in South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone and we’ll make sure that you are humiliated in North Down. Not only have you lost Hermon, but we’ll help her to win against your Tory friend Parsley'.
The UUP’s difficulties in North Down are compounded by the resignation of their local MLA Alan McFarland, who also referred to the damage being done by the Tory link-up.
It seems that UCUNF is moving closer to the New Farce that many predicted at the time of its establishment. If it cannot work in North Down – the nearest Northern Ireland has to a Tory-friendly constituency, then it may not work at all.