Norman Porter

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Norman Porter was a loyalist politician in Northern Ireland.

A lay preacher, an Orangeman, an Apprentice Boy and a member of the Royal Black Institution,[1] Porter became the leader of the National Union of Protestants in Northern Ireland in 1948.[2] Ian Paisley was treasurer of the group, but left after Porter refused to join his new Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. The Union disintegrated soon after.[3] In 1953, Porter became the Director of the Evangelical Protestant Society. He also edited the Ulster Protestant newspaper,[2] which he produced with William McConnell Wilton.[4]

At the Northern Ireland general election, 1953, Porter was elected as an Independent Unionist MP for Belfast Clifton, standing with the slogan "For God and Ulster".[5] He defeated Samuel Hall-Thompson, who uniquely among Ministers was not a member of the Orange Order and who had faced criticism from loyalists for appearing to compromise with the Roman Catholic Church while Minister of Education.[6]

Porter attended the first meeting of the Ulster Protestant Action group in 1956, but he immediately withdrew.[3] He lost his seat at the 1958 general election to Robin Kinahan.[2] Porter was again defeated in the seat in a 1959 by-election.[7]

Porter was an opponent of Catholicism. In a 1964 speech reported in the Belfast Newsletter, he stated: "When you become too friendly with those of different religious persuasion, you find it increasingly hard and difficult to oppose their beliefs – this leads to compromise."[8]

In 1969, he stood in Belfast Duncairn, where sitting Ulster Unionist Party MP William Fitzsimmons' daughter had married a Roman Catholic, and Fitzsimmons had subsequently resigned from the Orange Order. Porter presented himself as a candidate whose opposition to Catholicism was in no doubt, but proved unsuccessful in the poll.[6]

Porter's son, also Norman Porter, has written several books on politics in Northern Ireland.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Paul Bew, "Good Friday man?", Times Online
  2. ^ a b c Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland: The Orange State
  3. ^ a b Clifford Smyth, Ian Paisley: Voice of Protestant Ulster, p.6
  4. ^ Clifford Smyth, Ian Paisley: Voice of Protestant Ulster, p.5
  5. ^ Graham S. Walker, A History of the Ulster Unionist Party: Protest, Pragmatism and Pessimism
  6. ^ a b Northern Ireland Parliamentary Election Results: Boroughs: Belfast
  7. ^ Northern Ireland Parliamentary Elections Results: Biographies
  8. ^ John Daniel Cash, Identity, Ideology and Conflict: The Structuration of Politics in Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Samuel Hall-Thompson
Member of Parliament for Belfast Clifton
1953–1958
Succeeded by
Robin Kinahan