James Forsyth

There is a massively important principle at stake in Northern Ireland

There is a massively important principle at stake in Northern Ireland
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The Times continues its attack on the Tory policy of trying to field candidates in Northern Ireland today. In its leader on the subject, it declares that the Tories should abandon their efforts and that this is relatively easily done as ‘there is no great ideological cause at issue.’ This is wrong. There is a massively important principle at stake here, a party that aspires to govern the United Kingdom should run candidates in all parts of it. To put it another way, the people of Northern Ireland deserve a chance to vote for the Tories.

David raises some valid points about the problems the alliance between the Tories and the Ulster Unionists is having. Certainly, if there are no Catholic candidates fielded that will be a blow to the whole purpose of the Tory mission in Northern Ireland. But there is nothing illegitimate or irresponsible about the Tory desire to field Unionist candidates who would take the Tory whip at Westminster. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and as long as it remains so, UK political parties should stand there.