I AM writing to express my disappointment at the decision taken by Basil McCrea and John McCallister to leave the Ulster Unionist Party amid reports that they are to form a new party.
Some commentators and politicians have claimed that the selection of Nigel Lutton is a negative move which will polarise politics. I cannot for the life of me see how the selection of the son of a murdered RUC officer should be a resignation issue.
Surely the community in Mid Ulster is entitled to have the chance to elect someone who can both speak up for victims of terrorism and present a forward-looking vision for Northern Ireland?
I would like to know who John McCallister and Basil McCrea would encourage people to vote for in Mid Ulster?
I also view with dismay the prospect of yet another unionist party being formed. We already have the Ulster Unionists and the DUP. Then there is the TUV. The PUP is still in existence and UKIP and the Conservatives have entered the fray.
And until the Alliance Party nailed their colours to the mast by taking the Union Flag down from Belfast City Hall, some voters may have regarded Alliance as some kind of unionist party.
I’m not sure what McCrea and McCallister hope to achieve by setting up yet another party to split the unionist vote, but I really hope that they are motivated by something more honourable than frustrated political ambition.
The fact is that the three most high-profile defections from the Ulster Unionists – David McNarry, John McCallister and Basil McCrea – have all failed in bids to lead the Ulster Unionist Party. Now that is quite a coincidence.