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The Ulster Popular Unionist Party (UPUP) was a unionist political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1980 by James Kilfedder, independent Unionist Member of Parliament for North Down, who led the party until his death in 1995.

Ulster Popular Unionist Party
LeaderJames Kilfedder
ChairmanWilliam McIntyre
SecretaryValerie Kinghan
Political positionCentre-right
European affiliationNone
International affiliationNone
European Parliament groupN/A

In 1981, the party took three seats on North Down Borough Council and two seats on Ards Borough Council. Two of these were in North Down 'Area B', where sitting councillor George Green, a former Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party member who had been elected to the 1975 Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, had joined the party.[1] The other, Gladys McIntyre, was Mayor of Ards in 1985-86.

Kilfedder won a seat for the party in North Down at the 1982 Northern Ireland Assembly election. Only a minority of his votes transferred to his running mate, George Green, who missed out on taking a second seat by just six votes. Kilfedder was subsequently elected Speaker of the Assembly.[2]

Kilfedder held his seat in the UK Parliament at the 1983 general election with a large majority,[3] but fared less well when he stood in the 1984 European election, taking only 2.9% of the first preference votes.[4] A unionist pact enabled Kilfedder to easily win a by-election in 1986, when he joined the other unionist MPs in resigning in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement. A challenge from Bob McCartney, standing as a "Real Unionist", led to a close election in 1987, but Kilfedder held on, and beat a Conservative Party opponent in 1992.[3]

The party was reduced to three councillors in 1985, and remained at this level until Kilfedder's death in 1995. George Green had defected to the Conservative Party before 1989 but the party compensated by gaining a seat in the Dundonald area of Castlereagh. Following Kilfedder's death, the three UPUP councillors went their separate ways, Valerie Kinghan to the newly formed UK Unionist Party.[5] Thomas Jeffers to the Democratic Unionist Party and Cecil Braniff setting up a short-lived independent DUP. No party member contested the North Down by-election resulting from his death.

The "Popular Unionist Voice" was formed in 2007 in honour of Sir James Kilfedder and promotes his progressive unionist views through publishing letters in the Belfast News Letter, the Irish News and the Islington Tribune in London. The PUV was formed by James Annett from Comber in County Down.(6)(Islington Tribune 25 September 2015)[citation needed]James Annett the founder of PUV also went on to found the Ulster British Gillespie Society ( UBGS) (7)


  1. ^ The Local Government Elections 1973-1981: North Down, Northern Ireland Elections
  2. ^ (1982–1986.North Down 1973-1982, Northern Ireland Elections
  3. ^ a b North Down, 1983-1995, Northern Ireland Elections
  4. ^ The 1984 European Elections, Northern Ireland elections
  5. ^ North Down Borough Council Elections 1993-2005 Northern Ireland Elections

6 see the letter page of the Islington Tribune for September 2015 concerning the PUV (25 Sept 2015)

reference />7 see the letter pages of the British Church Newspaper ( for letters by James Annett of the UBGS