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,
Ideology British unionism
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group None
Colours Red, White and Blue
Northern Ireland Assembly
Local government in Northern Ireland
Politics of Northern Ireland
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland 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. In the 2009 European elections Allister lost his seat when he stood as a TUV candidate. In June 2008, it was announced that former UUP MP William Ross had been made party president.
The founding principles of the TUV were:
- retention of the Union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain
- commitment to a form of devolution that rejects mandatory coalition
- that the rule of law must prevail in every part of Northern Ireland and be administered without fear or favour
- support for socially conservative values
The party's first electoral contest was the Dromore local government by-election for Banbridge District Council which took place on 13 February 2008 with its candidate being Dromore solicitor, Keith Harbinson. He took 19.5% of the 1st preference votes cast.
TUV was the last party to be eliminated, and more of its votes transferred to the UUP than to the DUP, enabling the former to retain its 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/SF-led power-sharing government in Belfast. 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 nationalist or republican 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 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 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 18 Northern Ireland seats. A week after the election, the TUV acknowledged on their website that the results had been 'disappointing'.
2011 Council Election
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.
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.
On 4 November 2009, the party caused controversy when it referred to the Irish language as a "leprechaun language" on its web site. The statement was issued under the name of TUV vice-chairman Keith Harbinson and condemned the Department of Education for "wasting" money on Irish. The party later removed the phrase, but the original page had already been spread on numerous other websites.
In December 2009, TUV member Trevor Collins promoted a petition to release Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) member Torrens Knight from prison. Knight had 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 2009 was sent back to prison for beating two women in a bar. Party leader Jim Allister refused to take action against Collins.
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, 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." The TUV also stated that the sex offences related "to a period long before he was a member of this party". 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.
LeaderLeader From To
1 Jim Allister 7 December 2007 Incumbent
- The Electoral Commission : Regulatory issues : Political parties : Registers : Register of political parties[dead link]
- "UK | Northern Ireland | New unionist group to be launched". BBC News. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "Northern Ireland News - Allister Announces 'Alternative Ulster' Voice". 4ni.co.uk. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- We'll bring the DUP to account, The News Letter, 4 June 2008
- "Traditional Unionist Voice Leaflet" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "TUV to contest Dromore by-election". Jimallister.org. 12 January 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "by-election date". Banbridge.com. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "Who is Jim Allister? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8044057.stm
- "Electoral Office for Northern Ireland - Turnout" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "Thank you to TUV voters and workers | Traditional Unionist Voice". Tuv.org.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "Northern Ireland Council Elections". BBC News.
- UTV | Northern Ireland Assembly election 2011
- "UK | Northern Ireland | TUV sorry for 'leprechaun' slur". BBC News. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "UK | Northern Ireland | TUV won't take action over Knight petition". BBC News. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- News Letter, Belfast, 15 November 2012
- "Tweed remarks hurt family, says mum of murder victim", 'The Irish News', 30 November 2012
- Maeve Connolly, "TUV replaces sex abuser ex-councillor", [The Irish News], 16 February 2013