‘Chaotic and mesmerisingly incompetent’: Damning verdict on Northern Irish wing of the Conservative Party as former Tory Alan Dunlop barred from rejoining

A former chairman of the Northern Irish wing of the Conservative Party has said the local branch is in a “chaotic state”.
Alan DunlopAlan Dunlop
Alan Dunlop

Alan Dunlop, a former steel importer who has also been a donor to the party, made the comments as he went public with a claim that the NI branch had rejected his application for membership.

Last October Mr Dunlop resigned from the Tories saying that, among other things, the national party was reluctant to organise properly in the Province.

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Now with a change in leader under way, he says that he applied to rejoin – but after initially being accepted, he was told he would not be admitted.

In a statement issued yesterday via a PR firm, Mr Dunlop called it a “mesmerising bout of incompetence”.

Mr Dunlop said part of the reason was that “they basically wanted me to wear sackcloth and ashes and apologise for my statements about the shambolic state of the local party, comments I made after I’d resigned”.

He said that the matter has been referred to the membership committee at Conservative headquarters.

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He added: “I attempted to modernise the party and make it fit-for-purpose. I wanted to move from a situation where Northern Ireland was regarded as some far-flung outpost.

“I wanted the party to be more professional and to compete, and succeed, in all elections.

“And I wanted London to throw its full weight behind what we were doing.

“All that has disappeared. There is no drive. No clear direction. No energy. The party locally is rudderless...

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“Having my application accepted, then withdrawn, and now left in the too-difficult political in-tray, sums up the chaotic state of a political party that claims to be the natural party of government.”

The NI Conservatives have been asked to comment.

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