Ulster Unionist Party

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative political party in Northern Ireland.[5] Having gathered support in Ulster, the northern province in Ireland, during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the party governed Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972. It was supported by most unionist voters throughout the conflict known as the Troubles, during which time it was often referred to as the Official Unionist Party (OUP).[6][7] Between 1905 and 1972, its peers and MPs took the Conservative whip at Westminster, in effect functioning as the Northern Irish branch of the Conservative and Unionist Party. This arrangement came to an end in 1972 over disagreements over the Sunningdale Agreement. The two parties have remained institutionally separate ever since, with the exception of the 2009–2012 Ulster Conservatives and Unionists electoral alliance.

Ulster Unionist Party
LeaderDoug Beattie
ChairmanDanny Kennedy
Deputy leaderRobbie Butler
Founded3 March 1905
Preceded byIrish Unionist Alliance
HeadquartersStrandtown Hall
2–4 Belmont Road
Northern Ireland
Youth wingYoung Unionists
Political positionCentre-right[3]
European affiliationAlliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
British affiliationConservative Party (1905–1972, 2009–2012)
Colours  Blue
House of Commons
(NI Seats)
0 / 18
House of Lords
2 / 788
NI Assembly
10 / 90
Local government in Northern Ireland[4]
73 / 462

It is as of 2021 the fourth-largest party in Northern Ireland, having been overtaken in 2003 by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, and in 2017 by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The party has been unrepresented in Westminster since losing its two seats in 2017. The party won 11.7% of the vote in Northern Ireland, but no seats, in 2019, placing fifth behind the DUP, Sinn Féin, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, and the SDLP. Within the United Kingdom, the Ulster Unionist Party has historically been affiliated with the Conservative Party in Great Britain, and is often considered an off-shoot of it.[8] The UUP and its predecessors have been the traditional Unionist voice in Ireland.

In 2016, the UUP and the SDLP decided not to accept the seats on the Northern Ireland Executive to which they would have been entitled and to form an official opposition to the executive. This marked the first time that a devolved government in Northern Ireland did not include the UUP. Steve Aiken succeeded Robin Swann as leader in November 2019.[9] He resigned on 8 May 2021, and Doug Beattie was elected as leader on 17 May 2021.[10]