Protestant Unionist Party

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Protestant Unionist Party
Leader Ian Paisley
Founded 1966
Dissolved 1971
Preceded by Ulster Protestant Action
Succeeded by Democratic Unionist Party
Ideology British unionism
British nationalism
British conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Religion Fundamental Protestantism
Colours Red, White and Blue

The Protestant Unionist Party (PUP)[1] was a unionist political party operating in Northern Ireland from 1966 to 1971. It was the forerunner of the modern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and emerged from the Ulster Protestant Action (UPA) movement.

The UPA had two councillors elected, and in 1967 both were re-elected as PUP candidates. They stood six candidates against the relatively moderate Ulster Unionist Party members of the parliament of Northern Ireland in the 1969 election and polled over 20,000 votes.

When Terence O'Neill (the then Northern Irish Prime Minister) stood down from Stormont in 1970 along with one of his colleagues, the PUP nominated candidates for the two vacant seats (Ian Paisley and William Beattie, PUP leader and deputy respectively). Both were elected to Stormont and in that year's general election, Paisley was elected to represent Antrim North in Westminster.

The PUP campaigned for the retention of the Union, preferential treatment for Protestants in employment, and for total freedom for Orange parades. The PUP was wound up in 1971 and re-emerged as the DUP in October of that year.

Later in the 1987 general election, George Seawright, a Scottish-born former DUP candidate who was later assassinated by the Irish People's Liberation Organisation (IPLO), defied an official pact between the unionist parties and revived the Protestant Unionist label for his candidature.


  1. ^ Not to be confused with the Progressive Unionist Party.