Jim Allister

Jim Allister

Infobox MEP
name =Jim Allister
honorific-suffix =

widt h=
parliament = European
constituency_MP = Northern Ireland
term_start= 2004
predecessor=Ian Paisley, John Hume & Jim Nicholson
birth_date=birth date and age|1953|4|2
birth_place=Crossgar, Northern Ireland
party=Traditional Unionist Voice
spouse=Ruth Allister
religion=Free Presbyterian

James Hugh Allister, QC, known as "Jim", (born 2 April, 1953 in Crossgar, County Down) is a Northern Ireland unionist politician and senior barrister. He is a former member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and was elected as a member of the European Parliament (succeeding Ian Paisley) in 2004. In the European Parliament, although an avowed Euro-sceptic, he is also a strong supporter of the Common Agricultural Policy.

After attending Regent House Grammar School in Newtownards, Allister graduated with a Bachelor of Law from Queen's University of Belfast. In 1974 he unsuccessfully stood for the post of QUB Students' Union president. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland as a barrister in 1976, where he specialised in criminal law, and later called to the Senior Bar as a QC; he 'took silk' in 2001.

Allister joined the DUP at its founding in 1971. He served as a European Parliament assistant to Ian Paisley from 1980 to 1982. In 1982 he was elected as a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont for North Antrim and served as the DUP Assembly Chief Whip. He was also as the Vice-Chairman of Scrutiny Committee of Department of Finance and Personnel from 1982 to 1986. Outside the Assembly, he was a member of Newtownabbey Borough Council from 1985 to 1987. In 1983, he had stood as a DUP candidate in the Westminster election for East Antrim. Although he was the favourite to win [Robert Waller,Almanac of British Politics, 3rd ed] he narrowly lost to Roy Beggs. His departure from active politics in 1987 followed a reported disagreement with Paisley over a unionist voting pact. However, he returned to run for the party's nomination for MEP in 2004.

Allister was elected to the European Parliament for the DUP in the 2004 election. As a member of the DUP, he was generally perceived as being on the right wing of the party.

In March 2005 Allister was the victim of cybersquatting, when a domain advertised on the outside of his office was registered by the Ulster Young Unionist Council before him. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/blog/4483251.stm BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Weblog | Cybersquatting IV ] ] The domain read "Too slow Jim, vote Ulster Unionist" [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050915221640/www.youngunionists.org.uk/jimallister/ Ulster Young Unionist Council ] ]

On 27 March 2007, he resigned from the DUP because of the party's decision to enter into government with Sinn Féin. It was the second occasion on which he had resigned from the party [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6962929.stm Unionist opposition 'will emerge'] "It was the second time he had quit the DUP fold, having left active politics in the 1980s after disagreeing with his leader's tactics over the Anglo-Irish Agreement."] . In the press conference announcing his resignation, he stated that he could never accept Sinn Féin in the government of Northern Ireland while the IRA Army Council remained in existence. Prior to his resignation, Mr Allister was widely seen in Northern Ireland as a potential candidate for the DUP party leadership.

In late 2007, speculation began over Allister's political intentions, with it being suggested that a new Unionist political party was imminent [ [http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Talks-could-lead-to-new.3208321.jp Talks could lead to new unionist party - Belfast Today ] ] . While it was suggested on 10 October 2007 that he had been approached by the United Kingdom Independence Party, [ [http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/ukip-approach-to-allister/ Slugger O'Toole ] ] he proceeded to found the Traditional Unionist Voice on 2007-12-07. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7131912.stm BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | New unionist group to be launched ] ]

External links

* [http://www.jimallister.org Jim Allister's website]
* [http://www.europarl.eu.int/members/public/geoSearch/view.do?country=GB&partNumber=1&zone=Northern+Ireland&language=EN&id=28512 European Parliament profile]
* [http://www.jimallister.eu/uploads/Speaking_for_you_in_Europe_122.pdf "Leading for Ulster: Speaking for You" (a collection of speeches by Jim Allister)]
* [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20040721+ITEM-001+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN&query=INTERV&detail=3-025 Maiden Speech : European Parliament - 21 July 2004]


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