The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Progressive Unionist Party

The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) are a small political party from Northern Ireland. They were formed from the Independent Unionist Group operating in the Shankill area of Belfast becoming the PUP in 1979. Linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) they are the left-wing party of unionism in Northern Ireland, with their main support base in the Protestant working class communities of Belfast.

The party has had a degree of electoral success. In 1994 PUP leader Hugh Smyth became Lord Mayor of Belfast, and in the 1996 elections to the Northern Ireland Forum they secured two seats, with Billy Hutchinson and David Ervine both being elected. The PUP supported the Belfast Agreement and in the 1998 election to the Northern Ireland Assembly they also won two seats, with representatives elected from the Belfast North and East constituencies.

Their position on the left of the political spectrum differentiates them from the other unionist parties (such as the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party) which tend to be more conservative in outlook.

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Last updated: 05-07-2005 12:30:59
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04