Ulster Unionist Party

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The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party (OUP) or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland.[2] Before the split in Unionism in the late 1960s, when the former Protestant Unionist Party began to attract more hard line support away from the UUP, it governed Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972 as the sole Unionist party. It continued to be supported by most unionist voters throughout the period known as the Troubles.

The UUP has lost support among Northern Ireland's unionist and Protestant community to the more 'hardline' Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in successive elections at all levels of government since 1999. The party is currently led by Tom Elliott.

In 2009 the party agreed to an electoral alliance with the Conservative Party, meaning that the two parties will field joint candidates for elections to the House of Commons and the European Parliament under the banner of " Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force (UCUNF)".[3] Literature and the web site for the 2009 European Parliament election use "Conservatives and Unionists" as the short name.[4]

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