Last week, I blogged about the lack of recognition of the Northern Ireland local party of the Liberal Democrats by the Federal Party website.
This evening, quite by chance, I noticed that there is a link at the bottom of the Federal Party‘s homepage for ‘N. Ireland’.
Where does this link go?
It goes to the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland – a sister party within Liberal International. Now, there may have been plans, or indeed hopes, in the past that the Alliance Party would become a State Party of the Liberal Democrats. I am sure that what has happened in the House of Commons, where Naomi Long, Member of Parliament for Belfast East stated before the election that she would not take the Lib Dem whip, makes it clear that there is little chance of Alliance Party = Liberal Democrats in Northern Ireland.
Stephen blogged well over a year ago about making a formal link up*,
The Lib Dems in Northern Ireland have long taken the stance that they would not contest elections but lend support to the most prominent centrist party, which is the Alliance Party with their 7 Assembly Members and 32 councillors.
but this has not happened – nor is it likely to, according to discussions Stephen had with Alliance’s executive director, Gerry Lynch. It is a fact that former Alliance leader Lord Alderdice sits as a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords, but this looks like it will continue to have no effect upon forming a formal link up.
Unless and until the Alliance Party becomes the Liberal Democrats’ State Party in Northern Ireland, the Federal Party needs to recognise that they are not this. The local party needs to be publicised, and as chair of the local party, I will be writing (not emailing) to seek the fixing of this. I will update you on the progress.