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Clifford Forsythe

Clifford Forsythe (25 August 1929 – 27 April 2000) was a Northern Ireland Ulster Unionist Party politician. He was Member of Parliament for South Antrim from 1983 to his death.

Clifford Forsythe
Member of Parliament
for South Antrim
In office
9 June 1983 – 27 April 2000
Preceded byJames Molyneaux
Succeeded byWilliam McCrea
Personal details
Born(1929-08-25)25 August 1929
Died27 April 2000(2000-04-27) (aged 70)
Political partyUlster Unionist Party

Early lifeEdit

He was a footballer with Derry City and Linfield Football Clubs.[1] He won several footballing medals, and was described as a 'fine, speedy winger'.[2]


He had previously been Mayor of Newtownabbey Borough Council, and was also a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1982 to 1986. He also once served as the President of the Northern Ireland Institute of Plumbing.

Forsythe was the constituency election agent for Ulster Unionist leader James Molyneaux,[2] and later won the same seat, albeit with a reduced majority, in 1983.

In his paper Quangopus Government published by the Ulster Unionist Party in June 1992, Forsythe – as the then UUP Spokesman on Local Government – argued for devolution of responsibility to locally elected representatives.

In 1996, Forsythe survived an attempt to deselect him as a MP.[2]

Political viewsEdit

Like Molyneaux, Forsythe opposed the Good Friday Agreement and supported proposals for a Northern Ireland-wide administrative assembly/regional council (with powers broadly analogous to the National Assembly for Wales) to administer legislation and public services that were, at that time, administered by Northern Ireland Office Ministers, civil servants and quangos.

On more than one occasion, Forsythe claimed that his experience – both in the 1982–86 Northern Ireland Assembly and as a Past Vice-Chairman of the Ulster Monday Club – led him to conclude that the unimplemented 1979 Conservative General Election Manifesto commitment to administrative devolution in Northern Ireland offered the way forward for Northern Ireland.

He was active member of the House of Commons' Social Security Select Committee from 1991–1997, and the Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee from 1997 until his death in 2000.[3]

Shortly before his death, Forsythe criticised the Government for its failure to tackle social security fraud by paramilitary groups.

He argued that air travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland should be exempt from air passenger duty, on the basis that the tax unfairly disadvantaged Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the United Kingdom given the limited alternative means of travelling between Belfast and London.


  1. ^ "Tributes paid to MP". BBC News. 29 April 2000. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Clifford Forsythe". the Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  3. ^ "House of Commons – Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs – Fifth Report". Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.

External linksEdit

Civic offices
Preceded by
C. W. Stringer
Mayor of Newtownabbey
Succeeded by
Leslie Caul
Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)
New assembly MPA for South Antrim
Assembly abolished
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Molyneaux
Member of Parliament for South Antrim
Succeeded by
William McCrea