Home Page :: Progressive Unionist Party (PUP)
Progressive Party
Home Page
Party Policy
Advice Centre
Your Questions
Progressive People
Cllr Dr John Kyle
Cllr Hugh Smyth O.B.E.
Billy Hutchinson
David Ervine
Media Centre
Press Releases
Progressive Loyalism
Principles of Loyalism
Conflict Transformation
Ex Prisoners Interpretative Centre
Contact us from this Site
Join the Party
Register to Vote
Join the Party
Your Questions

How can I get PUP help with housing/constituency advice?

Our Headquarters are situated at 299 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1AG and can be contacted on 028 9022 5040. We will be happy to field your inquiry - alternatively you can email

Why are the PUP the only left of centre Unionist Party?

Our Northern Ireland Labour Party roots and our working class founders have ensured that the policies and principles of the Progressive Unionist Party are class orientated and left of centre. As to why the PUP are the only such Unionist Party is unclear. The conservative right wing policies of the larger Unionist Parties run contrary to the interests of the majority of Unionism/Loyalism.

Why are the PUP the only British Isles Party with a female leader?

In short...we don’t know. In our supposed modern and equitable society, women are still underrepresented in our political sphere. Northern Irish politics in particular is an extremely conservative environment. While women are becoming increasingly involved, they remain a minority grouping and seem to hit a glass ceiling when it comes to leadership positions. The Progressive Unionist Party are extremely proud to have Dawn Purvis as Party Leader and hope that her political leadership will encourage more women to get involved with politics and the PUP.

How can I find out more about David Ervine?

More info on David Ervine can be found here. For further reading a book written by Henry Sinnerton entitled ‘David Ervine - Unchartered Waters’ and published by Brandon press is available from all good book stores and also online at Amazon.co.uk

Why should I vote for a small party?

To get things done. Sometimes it takes a David party rather than a Goliath party to solve problems and provide innovative solutions.

What is the relationship between the PUP and the UVF/RHC?

It is evident from press and media coverage that some people have concerns and misconceptions around the history and indeed the present of the Progressive Unionist Party. The Progressive Unionist Party evolved from those members of the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando who wished to explore a political and peaceful future for Northern Ireland. The Progressive Unionist Party has an historical link to the UVF/RHC constituency and continues to influence, where possible Loyalists who are prepared to progress along the path towards a normal society.

Our political opponents are quick to label us as ‘terrorists’ or ‘traitors’ depending on their current goals. However the present membership of the Progressive Unionist Party relays a different story with doctors/teachers/social workers within our branches. The PUP like all political parties in Northern Ireland does contain members with a paramilitary past. Unlike our political opponents the PUP are open about this fact and are proud that those elements of our membership have made the personal transition from conflict combatants to former combatants dedicated to ensuring that no others tread the path they trod and attempting to bring about an anti-sectarian, pluralist and equitable society.

The position of the Progressive Unionist Party on paramilitarism is clear; we strive for the day that Northern Ireland is free from paramilitarism and work every day to ensure that this goal will be achieved. To condemn paramilitaries is simple; we take on a far more difficult role than our political opponents. In attempting to engage with all sections of our community to bring about a better Northern Ireland, we have never hidden from that fact or our responsibility to help Northern Ireland achieve its potential.

The Progressive Unionist Party have always played a positive role in Northern Ireland’s peace process.

What percentage of PUP people have a UVF history?

Historically we have a link with the UVF/RHC, while the organisations always had their own policies and separate structures some people were members of both organisations (but never at leadership level). Through time this has naturally diminished, with only a small percentage of PUP members having any paramilitary history. PUP branches are filled with Doctors/teachers and social workers. The small minority of PUP members who are former combatants believe fully in PUP policy and therefore are opposed to violence and wish for a peaceful and equitable Northern Ireland to develop from our conflict.

Why do you not split with these paramilitary organisations?

The Progressive Unionist Party have debated this issue at length, as it is clear from political polls that the link between the PUP and UVF/RHC has been at times an electoral liability. However the vast majority of PUP members have concluded that for the good of Northern Ireland it is our responsibility to provide political analyses to that constituency.

Simply to say that paramilitaries exist, are bad people and should go away, will not make it so. We feel our responsibility is to ensure that we continue to attempt to bring all of Northern Irish society into a new peaceful and equitable era. People need help with transition and our job is to facilitate that.

It is an unfashionable and much maligned job, it is not a vote winner, but it is a job that needs to be done. The PUP does the job, so you don’t have to.

When will the UVF/RHC decommission?

The PUP strives for the day that there are no paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland and no illegally held weapons. Coming out of years of conflict has left an unpleasant legacy that needs to be addressed. The IRA have decommissioned substantial amounts of weapons –and were fully engaged in a political process to reach this point, this further complicated the issue of Loyalist weapons. We are thankful that Loyalist and Republicans weapons are silent and structured violence on our streets is a thing of the past. While weapons should be removed from our society when possible, we believe that the intent of all mainstream paramilitary organisations is paramount and the fact that weapons are not used is most important.

Decommissioning was never an issue for the PUP; intent and trust were the outcomes that we desired. Gusty Spence’s word still ring true:- “One simple word will solve the decommissioning debate...rust”. However this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

What have my politicians ever done for me?

What have you ever asked them to do? The Progressive Unionist Party runs a full time advice centre at 299 Newtownards Road (028 9022 5040). Next time you need help, assistance or guidance...ask.

How do I join the PUP?

A form for party membership is available here, alternatively email your name and contact number to and our Inductions Officer will be in touch to further your application.

If you would like a question answered which isn’t covered or you would like addressed - use this form or email