Tim Collins will stand in North Down for the Ulster Unionist Party in the upcoming general election

Retired army veteran Tim Collins will run as the Ulster Unionist's candidate for North Down in the upcoming general election, aiming to take the seat from Alliance.

The Ulster Unionist Party has selected Colonel Tim Collins as their candidate for North Down in the upcoming general election.

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Collins said that he felt it was now the right time for a new career path, and he chose the Ulster Unionist Party as their values and views reflected his own. It is reported that the Democratic Unionist Party approached Collins last year with an offer to run for them – which he turned down.

Contesting the North Down constituency, he will be running against Alliance‘s Stephen Farry, who won the seat in 2019 with almost a 3,000-vote majority. Close behind him was the DUP‘s Alex Easton, who has since left the party and will be running as an independent in the upcoming general election.

Stephen Farry took the seat in 2019 after Lady Heron retired the previous holder of the North Down seat

Tim Collins served in the British Army and is best known for his role in the Iraq War, and his eve-of-battle speech which was displayed in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush. He is currently Chairman and co-founder of Horus Global – an intelligence-based security services company.

Speaking on X, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Doug Beattie, said that he is “delighted to have Tim Collins join the UUP and stand as a candidate in North Down.”

There have been rumours that the unionist parties could agree on a single candidate to run in North Down in an attempt to win the seat from Alliance. It’s not yet known whether any other parties will run in the 2024 election, but Alex Easton MLA, an independent unionist, will likely contest it.

Tim Collins told the Belfast Telegraph, “I’ve consulted in North Down, I’ve looked at previous election results, and I’m very confident I can win this seat from Alliance.

“If the Orange Order or others endorse Alex Easton as a unity candidate, I will still stand. I’d hate to see a split unionist vote but, if another unionist runs, I’ll just have to deal with it and get on with my own campaign.”

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