David Burnside: Those of us who really knew Molyneaux will not let his reputation be besmirched

Letter from former UUP MP South Antrim, David Burnside, copied to John Whittingdale MP (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport):

Monday, 14th March 2016, 11:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 7:54 am
Jim Molyneaux seen in 1987, when he was leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. Pacemaker Press Intl

The reporting last Friday, 11th March, of the fantasy world of Mr Christopher Luke on his “relationship” with the late Lord Molyneaux raise obvious questions of Mr Luke’s standing and reputation but more importantly the editorial judgement of the BBC in giving Mr Luke such extensive coverage on Radio Ulster and BBC Northern Ireland.

Mr Luke has been around the fringes of the fringe of unionism on the mainland for 30 to 40 years.

He was constantly bombarding unionist MPs like Jim Molyneaux, Martin Smyth, Roy Beggs, Willie Ross and me with letters, opinions and newsletters.

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He always seemed to have a Walter Mitty character.

At a recent meeting in Westminster of the All Party Group on the Union the chairman had to ask Mr Luke to sit down as he promoted his inflated idea of his contribution to saving the Union.

In his Irish News interview and BBC interview he seemed to reveal a troubled, vulnerable personality which he has fantasised into a close relationship with Jim Molyneaux which did not exist and should not have received such extensive coverage.

The BBC is a tax payer funded public service broadcaster and showed poor editorial judgement in giving Mr Luke airtime to promote his claims.

The BBC style of interview encouraging Mr Luke in his innuendo about Jim’s personal life was of the lowest possible quality press standards.

The press running of Mr Luke’s selfies with Jim, I believe in Jim’s final days at the Steeple home in Antrim, was disgraceful. Mr Luke needs help but I am not trained to provide it. The BBC especially should clean up its act if it is to be allowed to retain its charter.

Jim Molyneaux was a great unionist leader and a gentleman. Those of us who really knew him will not allow people like Mr Luke or organisations like the BBC to besmirch his reputation and our fond memories of him.

David WB Burnside, Ballymoney