Maurice Hayes: A radical realignment of unionist political power has been on the cards for some time
THE retirement of Reg Empey as leader marks a significant turning point in the history of the modern Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Few commentators are willing to predict the direction of further movement.
There is also the question of the nature of the relationship with David Cameron's Tory Party, which is now committed to coalition with the Lib Dems.
The UUP, which dominated northern politics for the whole of the 20th Century and held office in Stormont unchallenged for the first 50 years of the Northern Ireland polity, shows all the signs of irreversible decline.