Picture 5A coup for the Conservatives came this afternoon in Northern Ireland as Ian Parsley (not Paisley) defected from the cross-community Alliance Party of Northern Ireland to the Conservatives. He is a councillor in North Down and was the Alliance candidate at the European election in June.

He explained his move thus:

"Having given significant thought to the future of Northern Ireland I
came to the conclusion that, with a General Election pending, the best
means of delivering a shared future and a genuinely new type of
politics would be through David Cameron's Conservative Party."

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson welcomed Cllr Parsley to the Tory fold:

"The mood for change in Northern Ireland is very strong. I am delighted
that Ian Parsley, who is a rising star of the new generation of
Northern Ireland politicians, has decided to join David Cameron's
Conservative Party in order to help bring Northern Ireland into
mainstream UK politics."

Jonathan Isaby