Scant evidence we want liberal pro-Union parties

Brian Faulkner

Brian Faulkner

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In February 1974, 40 years before NI21 fought its first election, another small-u unionist/pro-Union, middle-of-the-road party was laying down foundations.

Like NI21, its founders were former UUP members who believed that their old party was too hardline and too keen on “the sham of unionist unity rather than the reality and necessity of power-sharing.”

They were supporters of Brian Faulkner, who had resigned from the leadership of the UUP in January 1974, a few days after the party’s governing council had rejected the Sunningdale Agreement. At the general election in February 1974 seven pro-Faulkner, pro-Assembly candidates — including Stanley McMaster and Rafton Pounder, the sitting MPs for East and South Belfast — allowed their names to go forward under the ‘Unionist: Pro-Assembly’ banner.


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