NI conservatives have breakfast in Ballymena

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Image caption Some local activists are trying to resurrect the idea of creating an NI franchise of the Conservative Party

UCUNF is dead, right? But is it "Long Live UCUNF"?

The aim of making the Ulster Unionist Party into a regional franchise of the Conservatives, along the line of the CDU and CSU in Germany, may look to have run out of steam.

However, some local centre right activists are trying to resurrect the idea - albeit minus the UUP.

The "Way Forward Group" holds its second breakfast meeting in a Ballymena hotel on Saturday morning.

It has attracted the interest of the previous UCUNF candidate Lesley Macaulay, whose ill-fated selection for the UUP in May's assembly elections led to David McClarty's victorious independent campaign in East Londonderry, and the consequent loss of the UUP's second ministerial seat.

The group's first breakfast meeting in June explored the potential for either a new centre right group and/or a new "Northern Ireland centric party".

The party would be pro-union, in favour of low taxes, business friendly and cross-community, aiming to attract pro-UK Catholics.

They hope (which party doesn't) to be able to attract some of the hundreds of thousands of people who choose not to vote.

Some involved with the Way Forward Group say their plan is to affiliate with the Conservatives, but retain greater regional independence than the current local Tories.

Activists vow to never again be in the position of being told they cannot run candidates in Stormont elections - as happened last year.

They believe UUP members unhappy with the current direction of the party can be persuaded to join them.

However it's far from clear that Conservatives Central Office has endorsed the initiative, or how any new group would sit alongside the existing local Tories.

There are rumours about the local Conservatives re-branding themselves as "One Northern Ireland" - something which may reflect the kind of thinking being explored in the "Way Forward" breakfasts.