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Which Way Might The Wilson Vote Go?

Mark Devenport | 15:03 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

Inevitably the focus this week has been on the woman the Ulster Unionists scorned - Paula Bradshaw, whose rejection by the UUP in South Belfast leaves the party looking, as David Gordon put it in the Belfast Telegraph, a bit stale and male.

However in North Down (where Ms Bradshaw's partner Ian Parsley is expected to stand for the Conservatives) there is growing interest in the potential candidacy of another female politician - Alliance Councillor Anne Wilson. Mrs Wilson has been an Alliance member for 31 years and a representative on North Down council for the past 15 years, so why shouldn't she put her hat in the ring when it comes to next May's Assembly elections? Alliance already has a local MLA in Stephen Farry but , given the tumult within unionism in the area, it's thought they may well stand a second candidate to try to maximise their vote.

However besides being an Alliance stalwart, Anne Wilson is also wife of Northern Ireland's first Green MLA, Brian Wilson, who is planning to retire from Stormont. Clearly some of Mr Wilson's 2,839 first preference votes came from Green Party supporters who will happily transfer their allegiance to the former European candidate Steven Agnew. But a sizeable slice of his support also stemmed from his assiduous work as a veteran councillor. Should his wife stand for election, it will be interesting to see how much of the Wilson vote transfers to her and how much stays with the Greens.

To solve the conundrum, of course, it would be good to know for sure what Mrs Wilson decides to do. When I chatted to her this afternoon, she told me nobody had approached her to stand. She wasn't ruling an Assembly campaign out, but she wasn't ruling it in either. So watch this space.


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  • 1. At 09:06am on 03 Oct 2010, SusieFlood wrote:



    A party that elects a backwoodsman like Tom Elliott as its leader is clearly fundamentally flawed; ergo, progressives such as Paula Bradshaw and Basil McCrea stand no chance of preferment. Arguably they and their ilk would do better in the Alliance Party.


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  • 2. At 10:03am on 03 Oct 2010, michaelhenry wrote:

    the u.u.p knows no fury like a woman politician scorned
    paula bradshaw has no time for the x tory party the u.u.p if she would
    leave just because she was not selected to run for a assemply seat
    not much loyality there
    democracy at work- and its dirty work.

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  • 3. At 4:11pm on 03 Oct 2010, alan6 wrote:

    I'm sure Paula Bradshaw will be happier in the Alliance Party.... But to leave just because she was not selected seems bit silly...maybe the UUP is better of without her.

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  • 4. At 08:25am on 04 Oct 2010, notconned wrote:

    in my opinion,the u.u.p is the same old same.
    all the big shots club together.
    a bit like the d.u.p

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  • 5. At 10:03am on 04 Oct 2010, Grand_Old_Duke wrote:

    The UUP is doomed. It's a dead duck.

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  • 6. At 1:56pm on 04 Oct 2010, trevor polley wrote:

    Ms Bradshaw to Alliance ? She should check with her partner who left the Alliance to join the Tories. Maybe he will return to the Alliance as well. Ringland leaving UUP - Bradshaw, Parsley, Ringland, all losers under the Tory banner party will survive without them.
    As for the Wilsons - who cares ?

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