in: Oxford scholarship online
Having helped produce the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) struggled to deliver the deal amid unease over aspects of what its leadership negotiated. Paramilitary prisoner releases, policing changes, and power-sharing with the republican 'enemy' were all controversial. As the UUP leader won a Nobel Peace Prize, his party began to lost elections. For the UUP leadership, acceptance of change was the right thing to do for Northern Ireland. The decades since the peace agreement have seen the UUP eclipsed by the rival Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) even though most of what the UUP agreed in 1998 has remained in place. This text examines the travails of the UUP in recent times. It draws upon the first-ever survey of UUP members and a wide range of interviews, to analyse the reasons for its reverses and the capacity to revive.