Traditional Unionist Voice
|Leader||Jim Allister MLA QC|
|Founded||7 December 2007|
|Headquarters||139 Holywood Road,Belfast BT4 3BE,
Anti-St Andrews Agreement
|European Parliament group||None|
|Colours||Red, white, and blue|
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Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland founded on 7 December 2007, as an anti-St Andrews Agreementsplinter group from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Its first and current leader is Jim Allister who, until 2009, sat as an independent Member of the European Parliament, having been elected for the DUP in 2004. In the2009 European elections Allister lost his seat when he stood as a TUV candidate. In June 2008, it was announced that former Ulster Unionist Party(UUP) MP William Ross had been made party president.
The founding principles of the TUV were:
- retention of the Union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain
- commitment to a form of devolution that rejects mandatory coalition
- that the rule of law must prevail in every part of Northern Ireland and be administered without fear or favour
- support for socially conservative values
The party’s first electoral contest was the Dromore local government by-election for Banbridge District Council which took place on 13 February 2008 with its candidate being Dromore solicitor, Keith Harbinson. He took 19.5% of the first preference votes cast.
At a Craigavon Borough Council local by-election in Lurgan on 14 January 2010, the TUV won 19.3% of first preference votes. The UUP candidate, Jo-Anne Dobson, won with 63.9%. The DUP did not contest the seat.
European Parliament election 2009
Jim Allister, leader of the TUV, contested the European Parliament election on 4 June 2009. He stood on a ticket of opposition to the DUP/Sinn Féin-led Northern Ireland Executive. The election turned out to be hotly contested, with the unionist vote split three ways. Sinn Féin’s sitting MEP Bairbre de Brún topped the poll (a first for any Irish nationalist candidate). The Ulster Conservative and Unionist candidate Jim Nicholson took the second seat, with Diane Dodds of the DUP coming in third place, defeating Allister. The TUV polled 66,000 votes. Allister called the results a victory for unionism and indicated his intention to stand TUV candidates in future Northern Ireland Assembly and parliamentary elections. Allister commented, “It shows the depth of feeling that there is among many unionists who refuse to be rolled over in the era of Sinn Féin rule, who have quite rightly a resentment against those who betrayed them, deceived them, conned them, in the assembly election.”
|Party||Candidate||Seats||Loss/Gain||First Preference Votes||Seat|
|Number||% of vote|
|Sinn Féin||Bairbre de Brún||1||0||126,184||25.8||1st|
|Green (NI)||Steven Agnew||0||0||15,764||3.2|
Source: RTÉ News
2010 Westminster general election
On 6 May at the 2010 general election for the Westminster parliament, the TUV received 26,300 votes across Northern Ireland, a large drop on what it had received in the previous year’s European elections. In the same election, the DUP received 168,216 votes and the UCUNF received 102,361 votes. The TUV failed to win any of the 10 seats it contested. A week after the election, the TUV acknowledged on their website that the results had been ‘disappointing’.
|Belfast East||David Vance||1,856||5.4||4|
|East Antrim||Sammy Morrison||1,826||6.0||6|
|East Londonderry||William Ross||2,572||7.4||5|
|Lagan Valley||Keith Harbinson||3,154||8.6||4|
|Mid Ulster||Walter Millar||2,995||7.3||5|
|North Antrim||Jim Allister||7,114||16.8||2|
|North Down||Kaye Kilpatrick||1,634||4.9||4|
|South Antrim||Mel Lucas||1,829||5.4||6|
|South Down||Ivor McConnell||1,506||3.5||5|
2011 council elections
Traditional Unionist Voice fielded 41 candidates in the 2011 council elections. It received 2% of the overall vote. Two TUV candidates were elected in Ballymena, and one each in Moyle, Ballymoney, Larne and Limavady.
2011 Assembly election
The party fielded 12 candidates for the 2011 Assembly election. TUV received 16,480 votes or 2.5% of the poll, which was a drop in the number of votes received in the 2010 election. Eleven candidates were unsuccessful but in the North Antrim constituency Jim Allister received 4,061 first preference votes (10.1%), and on the ninth and last count was deemed to be elected without reaching the quota of 5,760 votes.
2014 European Parliament election
In 2014, Allister once again contested the Northern Ireland constituency in the European Parliament election. On this occasion he polled 75,806 first preference votes, 12.1% of the total. This represented an increase in the number of votes, but a decrease of just over one percentage point in terms of vote share. Allister again failed to be elected, with Sinn Féin, the DUP and UUP all retaining their seats. Allister was eliminated in the sixth of eight counts.
2014 council elections
In the Northern Ireland local elections, 2014 (held on the same day as the European election) for the eleven new local councils in Northern Ireland, TUV candidates polled a total of 28,310 first preference votes, or 4.5%, an increase on the previous council elections. The party had 13 successful candidates. They achieved their largest number of councillors inMid and East Antrim, where they became the third-largest party with five seats. They won three seats in Causeway Coast and Glens, two in Antrim and Newtownabbey and one each in Belfast, North Down and Ards and Lisburn and Castlereagh.
2015 general election
The party stood in seven constituencies, taking second in North Antrim but failing to place in the top four elsewhere..
|East Antrim||Ruth Wilson||1,903||5.7||6|
|Lagan Valley||Samuel Morrison||1,887||4.7||6|
|Mid Ulster||Gareth Ferguson||1,892||4.6||5|
|North Antrim||Timothy Gaston||6,561||15.7||2|
|North Down||William Cudworth||686||1.9||7|
|South Antrim||Rick Cairns||1,908||5.2||6|
2016 Assembly Election
The party stood in nine constituencies.Jim Allister retained his seat in North Antrim but were unable to add any additional MLA’s.
|East Antrim||Ruth Wilson||1,643||5.1||10|
|East Londonderry||Jordon Armstrong||1,191||3.5||11|
|Lagan Valley||Lyle Rea||1,291||3.3||10|
|Mid Ulster||Hanna Loughrin||1,877||4.6||8|
|North Antrim||Jim Allister||5,399||13.2||2|
|North Antrim||Timothy Gaston||1,955||4.8||9|
|North Down||John Brennan||610||1.9||12|
|South Antrim||Rick Cairns||1,318||3.8||10|
|Upper Bann||Roy Ferguson||1,177||2.6||10|
On 4 November 2009, the party caused controversy when it referred to the Irish language as a “leprechaun language” on its web site. The statement was issued under the name of TUV vice-chairman Keith Harbinson and condemned theDepartment of Education for “wasting” money on Irish. The party later removed the phrase, but the original page had already been spread on numerous other websites.
In December 2009, TUV member Trevor Collins promoted a petition to release Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) memberTorrens Knight from prison. Knight had already been imprisoned for taking part in the Greysteel massacre and Castlerock killings in 1993. He was released under the terms of the Belfast Agreement (1998), but in earlier in 2009 had been sent back to prison for beating two women in a bar. Party leader Jim Allister refused to take action against Collins.
On 28 November 2012, Ballymena TUV councillor David Tweed was convicted on 13 counts of sexual offences against two young girls. Pending sentencing he remained a member of Ballymena Borough Council and of the TUV, although the party announced on 15 November that it had ‘suspended’ his membership “not because we doubt his innocence, but because this is what the party rules require.” The TUV also stated that the sex offences related “to a period long before he was a member of this party”. In January 2013 Tweed was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. The TUV chose one of its unsuccessful 2011 Ballymena candidates, Timothy Gaston, to replace Tweed as a councillor.
|#||Leader||Born-Died||Term start||Term end|
|1||Jim Allister||1953–||7 December 2007||Incumbent|