Northern Ireland news

UUP councillor David Arthurs quits party

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillor David Arthurs
Brendan Hughes

AN ULSTER Unionist councillor has quit the party after a former MP was drafted in to contest his seat in next year's council elections.

David Arthurs, a representative on Antrim and Newtownabbey council, said he has felt "undermined" and intends to run as an independent candidate.

The councillor for the Ballyclare area was deselected earlier this year as a UUP candidate for the elections in 2019.

But after his replacement Gary English switched to Alliance, the selection process was re-run with Danny Kinahan added to the contest.

Mr Kinahan – a former UUP MLA and MP for South Antrim, who lost his Westminster seat in June last year – was then selected to stand in the Ballyclare area.

Mr Arthurs said he was not prepared to put his name forward for a second time as he would have "no chance" against Mr Kinahan, but wished Mr Kinahan well in next year's election.

In a statement, the councillor also cited feeling "snubbed" and "left out of a lot of local party issues" in his decision to resign from the party.

He said he felt "undermined" by some who have "failed to respect my mandate" and he no longer felt "part of the team".

Mr Arthurs was elected in 2014 as a TUV candidate but joined to the UUP in 2015.

He said he will remain on the council as an independent, and intends to run next May as an independent as he feels he has "much more to offer the people of Ballyclare".

The UUP did not respond to requests for a comment.

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