In amongst Dissenter's analysis of what is wrong with 'liberal' Unionism he outlines another sticky choice when it comes to candidate selections for Tom Elliott - ditch a sitting MLA (McClarty) or ditch the party's female Westminster candidate (Macaulay):
"...David McClarty cannot now be selected on appeal to the Party Executive without the second most popular candidate being selected. The problem? That would mean candidates would both be men. On the other hand, there is a risk of alienating or demoralising a substantial proportion of the constituency association."
If this representation is accurate then either has its problems. If McClarty is chosen, then unlike Paula Bradshaw's non-selection, blaming the constituency association defence is simply unavailable. This will have been a conscious decision of the centre. If he isn't Dissenter points to the obvious campaigning problems.
Anything else could lead to the now almost obligatory threat of a legal challenge (already rumoured to have been threatened in one other constituency). He could funk it and go for three to avoid too much of a row (rather this would more likely delay it to the election itself with different campaign teasm trying to do one another over). However, with a 2010 Westminster performance of just over a quota this would sow the seeds for an Ulster Unionist equivalent of the SDLP's West Tyrone debacle in the 2007 Assembly election. It could also increase the likelihood of a nationalist gain already increased to a degree by the new boundaries for East Londonderry.