Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey will not stand for re-election to Assembly
ULSTER Unionist West Tyrone MLA Ross Hussey has announced he will not be standing for re-election and is to retire from political life due to health problems.
One of only two unionists to be elected to the assembly in West Tyrone in last May's election, Mr Hussey previously represented Omagh town as a councillor.
Mr Hussey, a former RUC officer, who was first elected an MLA in 2011, cited medical reasons for stepping down.
"Anyone who knows me will know I have been suffering from various medical issues which includes the need for two replacement knees.
"Like many others I am waiting for my operation. That means a prolonged period of recovery and if elected I would be absent from my desk for an extended period.
"I do not believe it would be right for me to stand and then 'step back' or have someone co-opted in possibly a short space of time."
Last year Sunday newspapers reported how the Policing Board member had posted explicit images of himself on an internet site he used to meet strangers for sexual encounters.
Politicians across the spectrum rallied in support of Mr Hussey, who, although admitting he made a "terrible error of judgment" thanked people for their "sincere messages" of goodwill.
In 2014 a BBC Spotlight investigation revealed that Mr Hussey claimed the highest amount of rent - £20,000 a year - for his previous constituency office in Omagh, dubbed the 'Taj Mahal', which ran to more than 2,000sq ft over two floors.
Under changes in expenses rules introduced last year, Mr Hussey confirmed he would be forced to move office.