In the wake of the DUP’s vote for 42 days, Simon Chapman used to call for the Conservative Party to actively contest seats in Northern Ireland.

Owen Paterson MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has written for today’s Belfast Telegraph (available to read here) about the demand for the Conservative Party to contest seats in this fourth nation of the United Kingdom.  His article follows a presentation to all Conservative MPs yesterday evening.

His article states that the people of Northern Ireland care about UK-wide issues:

"People in Northern Ireland should be part of mainstream UK politics, playing an active part in national parties.  On my weekly visits to Northern Ireland people express emphatic views on national issues: the price of fuel, 10p tax row, business taxes, interest rates, over regulation and the Lisbon Treaty.  The current political system keeps them locked in the old style politics." 

Mr Paterson also quotes a YouGov survey of nearly 900 voters in Northern Ireland that suggests a demand for UK politics:

"Recent polling by YouGov shows that 54% would welcome more representation by UK wide political parties, 53% would prefer to see a Conservative Government led by David Cameron and only 27% favour a Brown Labour Government.  45% would be Very Likely or Likely to vote Conservative at the next general election if given the opportunity. 

After the trauma of the past 30 years, the constitutional arrangements of Northern Ireland are thankfully settled.  Now is the time for Northern Ireland to move back into the mainstream of national politics."

The Conservatives have been contesting seats in Northern Ireland for a number of years now but without huge success.  The best known Northern Ireland Conservative is David Trimble; following his defection a year ago.

> Click here for the Conservatives of Northern Ireland website.
> Click here for a week in the life of Owen Paterson, Shadow NI Secretary.