Traditional Unionist Voice

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Traditional Unionist Voice
Leader Jim Allister MLA QC
Chairman Ivor McConnell
President William Ross
Founded 7 December 2007
Headquarters 139 Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 3BE,
Northern Ireland
Ideology British unionism
Social conservatism
Anti-St Andrews Agreement
Political position Right-wing
European affiliation None
European Parliament group None
Colours Red, white, and blue
NI Assembly
1 / 108
NI Local Councils
13 / 462
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland[1] founded on 7 December 2007, as an anti-St Andrews Agreement splinter 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.[2][3] In the 2009 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.[4]

The founding principles of the TUV were:[5]

Election history

Local by-elections

The party's first electoral contest was the Dromore local government by-election for Banbridge District Council[6] which took place on 13 February 2008[7] with its candidate being Dromore solicitor, Keith Harbinson. He took 19.5% of the first preference votes cast.

TUV was the last party to be eliminated, and more of its votes transferred to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) than to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), enabling the former to retain its seat.[8]

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.[9] 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
DUP Diane Dodds 1 0 88,346 18.1 3rd
UCU-NF Jim Nicholson 1 0 82,892 17.0 2nd
SDLP Alban Maginness 0 0 78,489 16.1
TUV Jim Allister 0 0 66,197 13.5
Alliance Ian Parsley 0 0 26,699 5.5
Green (NI) Steven Agnew 0 0 15,764 3.2
Turnout[10] 488,891 42.8

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'.[11]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
Belfast East Vance, DavidDavid Vance 1,856 5.4 4
East Antrim Morrison, SammySammy Morrison 1,826 6.0 6
East Londonderry Ross, WilliamWilliam Ross 2,572 7.4 5
Lagan Valley Harbinson, KeithKeith Harbinson 3,154 8.6 4
Mid Ulster Millar, WalterWalter Millar 2,995 7.3 5
North Antrim Allister, JimJim Allister 7,114 16.8 2
North Down Kilpatrick, KayeKaye Kilpatrick 1,634 4.9 4
South Antrim Lucas, MelMel Lucas 1,829 5.4 6
South Down McConnell, IvorIvor McConnell 1,506 3.5 5
Strangford Williams, TerryTerry Williams 1,814 5.6 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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] They achieved their largest number of councillors in Mid 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..

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
East Antrim Wilson, RuthRuth Wilson 1,903 5.7 6
Lagan Valley Morrison, SamuelSamuel Morrison 1,887 4.7 6
Mid Ulster Ferguson, GarethGareth Ferguson 1,892 4.6 5
North Antrim Gaston, TimothyTimothy Gaston 6,561 15.7 2
North Down Cudworth, WilliamWilliam Cudworth 686 1.9 7
South Antrim Cairns, RickRick Cairns 1,908 5.2 6
Strangford Cooper, StephenStephen Cooper 1,701 5.1 7

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.

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
East Antrim Wilson, RuthRuth Wilson 1,643 5.1 10
East Londonderry Armstrong, JordonJordon Armstrong 1,191 3.5 11
Lagan Valley Rea, LyleLyle Rea 1,291 3.3 10
Mid Ulster Loughrin, HannaHanna Loughrin 1,877 4.6 8
North Antrim Allister, JimJim Allister 5,399 13.2 2
North Antrim Gaston, TimothyTimothy Gaston 1,955 4.8 9
North Down Brennan, JohnJohn Brennan 610 1.9 12
South Antrim Cairns, RickRick Cairns 1,318 3.8 10
Strangford Cooper, StephenStephen Cooper 1,407 4.3 10
Upper Bann Ferguson, RoyRoy 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.[17] The statement was issued under the name of TUV vice-chairman Keith Harbinson and condemned the Department of Education for "wasting" money on Irish.[17] The party later removed the phrase, but the original page had already been spread on numerous other websites.[17]

In December 2009, TUV member Trevor Collins promoted a petition to release Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) member Torrens 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.[18]

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,[19] 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."[20] The TUV also stated that the sex offences related "to a period long before he was a member of this party".[21] 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.[22]


# Leader Born-Died Term start Term end
1 Jim Allister JimAllister.jpg 1953– 7 December 2007 Incumbent


  1. [1] Archived 19 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "UK | Northern Ireland | New unionist group to be launched". BBC News. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Northern Ireland News - Allister Announces 'Alternative Ulster' Voice". 7 December 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. We'll bring the DUP to account, The News Letter, 4 June 2008
  5. "Traditional Unionist Voice Leaflet" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  6. "TUV to contest Dromore by-election". 12 January 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "by-election date". Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Who is Jim Allister?".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Electoral Office for Northern Ireland - Turnout" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Thank you to TUV voters and workers | Traditional Unionist Voice". Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Northern Ireland Council Elections". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "UTV - Northern Ireland Assembly election 2011: North Antrim constituency profile & candidates". Retrieved 17 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "BBC News - Vote 2014: Northern Ireland European election result". BBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Vote 2014 Election Results for Councils in Northern Ireland - BBC News". Retrieved 17 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "UK | Northern Ireland | TUV sorry for 'leprechaun' slur". BBC News. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "UK | Northern Ireland | TUV won't take action over Knight petition". BBC News. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Former Irish rugby international David Tweed guilty of child sex abuse". Retrieved 17 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. News Letter, Belfast, 15 November 2012
  21. "Tweed remarks hurt family, says mum of murder victim", 'The Irish News', 30 November 2012
  22. Maeve Connolly, "TUV replaces sex abuser ex-councillor", [The Irish News], 16 February 2013

External links