Robert McCartney (politician)


Robert McCartney (politician)

Infobox Politician | name=Robert McCartney QC


width=144px
term_start=
term_end=
predecessor=
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birth_date=birth date and age|1936|4|24
birth_place=Belfast, Northern Ireland
constituency=
party=UK Unionist Party
office=UKUP Leader
spouse=
website=

Robert Law McCartney QC (born 24 April 1936) often known as Bob is a Northern Ireland barrister and former leader of the UK Unionist Party.

He was initially a member of the Ulster Unionist Party but was expelled in June 1987 when he refused to withdraw from the general election of that year. He stood against the incumbent Popular Unionist Party MP Sir James Kilfedder in North Down as a "Real Unionist" but failed to win the seat.

In the 1995 by-election in North Down after the death of Kilfedder he was elected as a "UK Unionist" defeating the Ulster Unionist Party candidate. He subsequently established the United Kingdom Unionist Party to contest elections to the Northern Ireland Forum and the related talks which started in 1996. The other party representatives to the Forum were Conor Cruise O'Brien and Cedric Wilson. Bob retained his Westminster seat in the 1997 election.

He opposed the subsequent Belfast Agreement in the 1998 referendum and his party won five seats in the Assembly elections later that year. All four of the other UKUP MLAs parted company with him shortly after entering the Assembly.

In 1999 McCartney ran for the party in elections to the European Parliament, winning 2.9% of the first preference vote. He lost his Westminster seat in the 2001 election to the UUP candidate Lady Sylvia Hermon.

He was committed to a policy of integration for Northern Ireland, whereby all administrative forms of devolution would be wound up, there would be no Northern Ireland legislative assembly and the province would be a fully participating part of the United Kingdom; at the same time the three main British political parties would fully organise in Northern Ireland. He was the main spokesman for the Campaign for Equal Citizenship in 1986, and led it in its four years of prominence after the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

These integrationist policies, once popular in some sections of Unionism, receded with the introduction of devolution to Scotland and Wales, and the creation of a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly. However it is the case that other parts of the United Kingdom with devolved assemblies are fully covered by the three main British political parties, but not in Northern Ireland.

McCartney also strongly opposed the St Andrews Agreement. He stood in six different constituencies in the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly elections on an anti-agreement ticket but was elected to none of them. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6363019.stm] He claims to have retired from politics following the loss of his assembly seat in North Down in the 2007 Assembly Election to Brian Wilson of the Green Party.

External links

* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199495/cmhansrd/1995-07-05/Debate-21.html Maiden Speech : House of Commons - 5 July 1995]


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