DUP's Alison Bennington is elected to Antrim and Newtownabbey council
THE DUP's Alison Benninton has been elected, making her the party's first openly gay politician.
Alison Bennington won a seat for the DUP in the Glengormley Urban area of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Ms Bennington hugged supporters after she was formally returned, having won 1,053 votes.
The DUP’s first openly gay candidate, Alison Bennington, has just been elected to ?@ANBorough? council. Huge cheer and lots of hugs from party colleagues. “Good hard work and teamwork” she says while thanking them. #LE19 pic.twitter.com/tcGealDE9r— Seanín Graham (@SeaninGraham22) May 3, 2019
DUP leader Arlene Foster said Ms Bennington winning a seat and the party's policy on same-sex marriage were two separate issues.
"She's a committed unionist and that's why she decided to put her name forward for the DUP, as many others did right across the country, and she was selected on that basis," she told UTV.
"It sends out a message that the DUP is open to everyone who signs up to the policies of the DUP, as Alison did."
Ms Bennington runs a consultancy firm in the sports sector and previously worked in local government.
DUP leader Arlene Foster speaking to Brendan Hughes in Belfast City Hall:
'I'm not going to discriminate': DUP leader Arlene Foster responds to critics within her part about Alison Bennington being elected - the DUP's first openly gay politician#BelfastLE19 #LE19 @irish_news pic.twitter.com/ZIdIYue8Id— Brendan Hughes (@brendanhughes64) May 3, 2019
Antrim and Newtownabbey voters re-elected a former DUP mayor Thomas Hogg following his recent conviction for drink driving.
He served a five-month suspension from the council earlier this year. He polled 999 votes.