Northern Ireland

Former British soldier Tim Collins to stand for UUP in north Down

Ex-SAS man will try to unseat Alliance MP Stephen Farry

Former Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment, Tim Collins, has criticised Prince Harry for disclosing that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan. Picture: PA Wire
Former British solider Tim Collins is stand for the UUP in north Down

Former British army officer and SAS member, Colonel Tim Collins is to stand as a candidate for the UUP in the next Westminster election.

The east Belfast native says he is “confident” he can unseat Alliance MP Stepehen Farry in the north Down constituency.

It is understood he joined the UUP at the end of last year and was revealed as the party’s candidate on Wednesday.

Mr Collins was previously posted to Iraq with current UUP leader Doug Beattie.

The 63-year-old came to wider attention in 2003 when he made a speech to Royal Irish Regiment soldiers before the invasion of Iraq.

The ex-British soldier currently lives in Canterbury in England but said he would buy a house in North Down if successful at the polls.


He revealed that he previously turned down an approach from the DUP to be their candidate in the north Down area.

“My outlook, politics and worldview wouldn’t match the DUP’s,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“North Down is home to wealth creators from Belfast who may not be amenable to the DUP.”

He said he has visited north down and spoken to former MP Sylvia Hermon.

Lady Sylvia Hermon will not run in next month's general election. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Former north Down MP Sylvia Hermon

Asked how he thought loyalist Jamie Bryson, who lives in the area, and has been critical of the UUP and Alliance, would react Mr Collins said he was “used to dealing with loud, noisy voices, and I don’t find them challenging”.

UUP leader Doug Beattie

Speaking at a UUP party meeting earlier this week Mr Beattie welcomed his former military colleague.

“I’m absolutely delighted that someone of Tim Collins’ calibre has joined the Ulster Unionist team,” he said.

“He is a man of deep courage, integrity and intelligence.

“He has a huge feed into Westminster and the business world.

“He will be a great voice for the people of north Down in Parliament.”