Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliot was elected leader of the UUP at a meeting in Belfast tonight. More than a thousand party members from six counties gathered at the Waterfront Hall to listen to speeches from Elliot and his rival, Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea, before casting their votes.
Elliot, a 46-year old farmer from Ballinamallard is married with one son and is a member of the Church of Ireland. He is a Past County Grand Master of the Fermanagh Orange Order and is currently Assistant Secretary to the Grand Lodge of Ireland while also a member of the Royal Black Institution. He served for eighteen years in the Ulster Defence Regiment.
Hey, I know what you're thinking ... this guy is a goddamn liberal!
Elliot is perceived as being a 'safe pair of hands' for the UUP, which for the first time in its history failed to return any MPs at a Westminister election. Led by a conservative Orangeman with poor communication skills expect the UUP to decline still further at next years Assembly elections. Peter Robinson will certainly not be losing any sleep over Elliot's triumph