About Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith is co-founder of Democratic Audit and a Liberal Democrat life peer.
Articles by Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith (York, House of Lords): The formal re-uniting of the Ulster Unionist Party and Conservatives is major blunder by David Cameron: it will further polarise politics in Northern Ireland. It will invite a response not only from the other legitimate political parties in Ulster but, worse, is likely to provoke further violence from the dissident Republican para-military groups.
His assertion at the UUP's annual conference that this new merger signals his Unionist credentials is foolish and dangerous posturing. The UUP is now a small rump of a party with only one MP at Westminster and she, Lady Hermon, is rightly sceptical of the new arrangement. It will do nothing for the Tories and precious little for the UUP.
However, Cameron's Unionism is not spread equally thickly throughout the UK. In Scotland he tactically hopes that the SNP will be successful enough to limit the number of Labour MPs at Westminster to secure him a majority at the next General Election. Cynical tactics for a party leader who proclaims transparency and integrity in policy formation.
Trevor Smith is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Northern Ireland in the House of Lords
It was particularly interesting to observe the fissures in the various sectors of the Chamber. The biggest split was among the Labour Lords. Ranged on one side were the securicrats in the form of Foulkes Of Cumnock, Harris of Haringey and Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, with the liberal wing being represented by Baroness Malllieu and Lords Falconer and Morris of Aberavon. Former police chiefs were also divided between Lords Dear and Condon voting against 42 days and Lord Imbert who supported the proposal, though the former security service heads voted against it. Ex judges and former Lord Chancellors and Attorneys General voted against and only two Labour QCs ( Lord Archer of Sandwell and Lord Wedderburn) voted with the government. Lord Tebbit was the lone Tory dissident who voted for 42 days. Apart from the minister, Admiral Lord West of Spithead, the military top brass who turned out voted against the government. The one bishop in attendance, Southwark, voted against.