Reilly to challenge suspension over Irish News' remarks

Ukip councillor Henry Reilly with party leader Nigel Farage before the Co Down councillor's suspension
Staff Reporter

CO Down Ukip councillor Henry Reilly plans to challenge his suspension from the party over comments he made to The Irish News.

This newspaper revealed last week how the South Down Westminster candidate had resigned as Ukip's regional chair after a disagreement with the party's sole assembly member and Northern Ireland leader David McNarry.

Mr Reilly said he would continue to represent Ukip as a councillor for Newry, Mourne and Down but had "peddled back" from his wider party role.

He also said he and McNarry had "a very, very strained relationship" and that the Ukip regional head did not plan to stand in next year's Stormont elections.

In the immediate aftermath of the story's publication, Mr Reilly was suspended from the party by Ukip national chairman Steve Crowther. Initially the suspension was for an indefinite period but was later specified as three months.

It has since emerged that Mr Reilly was suspended for talking to The Irish News, which had contacted the Co Down councillor after noticing he was absent when Ukip leader Nigel Farage visited Belfast to launch his party's EU referendum campaign.

A copy of the email to Mr Reilly from Mr Crowther has been circulating on social media in recent days.

It states: "It has come to my attention that you have publicly aired grievances concerning David McNarry, including discussing his electoral future, with a member of the press, namely John Manley of the Irish News.

"This is contrary to the position I understood you to have taken when you resigned as chairman; contrary to the interests of the party in Northern Ireland, particularly as it coincides with, and will adversely affect, a visit from the party leader and is liable to bring the party into disrepute."

The Irish News understands Mr Reilly plans to challenge his suspension at a hearing which is expected to take place next week.


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