Northern Ireland news

Trevor Lunn quits Alliance over 'internal differences' to serve as independent

Trevor Lunn has quit Alliance and will serve out the mandate as an independent. Picture by Matt Bohill

VETERAN Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has blamed long-running "internal differences" for his decision to quit the Alliance Party days before its annual conference.

Mr Lunn resigned from the party yesterday, saying it was his intention to serve out the mandate as an independent.

The 73-year-old is a former chairman of the Alliance Party and was first elected to Stormont in 2007, having previously served on Lisburn City Council.

Regarded as being on the party's conservative wing, Mr Lunn moved to become a supporter of same sex marriage in 2016 having previously abstained when the issue came before the assembly.

He told The Irish News yesterday that there were "general problems" between him and the party but that they did not centre on policy.

Mr Lunn was also dismissive of suggestions that the party sought to replace him in the assembly – as too were Alliances sources.

"It's just internal differences that have been going on for quite a while and I thought it was time to go," he said.

A statement from the party said members were "sad" to hear of his resignation, which comes at a time when Alliance is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its formation and enjoying unprecedented success at the polls.

"Party leader Naomi Long MLA met Mr Lunn but the reasons for his resignation remain unclear," a party spokesman said.

"He had said for some time he intended to stand down from politics at the next election. It is sad he has chosen to end his political career outside the Alliance family."

The spokesman said the party recognised the departing Mr Lunn's contribution and wished him well for the future.

Alliance representatives and members will gather at Belfast's Stormont Hotel this Saturday for the party's annual conference.

Mr Lunn previously served as a member of the Policing Board.

In 2013 it emerged that he had paid his wife Lauren as a researcher using public funds.

He initially claimed he could not reveal the researcher's name due to "security concerns".

Among Mr Lunn's three employees is Ian Parsley, the husband of Alliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw.

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