Robbie Butler appointed Ulster Unionist deputy leader
ULSTER Unionist leader Doug Beattie has appointed Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler as the party's deputy leader.
There had been speculation that Mr Butler would contest the leadership after Steve Aiken stepped down earlier this month. However the Lagan Valley MLA ruled himself out and instead offered his support to Mr Beattie.
Mr Beattie, who became leader last week unchallenged, has also appointed East Belfast MLA Andy Allen as the party's deputy chief whip.
Former firefighter Mr Butler will continue in his role as Ulster Unionist chief whip.
“I have said that fixing Northern Ireland is a priority for me and to do that I need the right people in the right place," Mr Beattie said.
He described Mr Butler as having "tremendous energy and positivity".
“Robbie has been serving the party as chief whip and he will continue in that vital role," the Upper Bann MLA said.
He said Mr Allen, who like his new party leader is a former British soldier, was "forward thinking, and someone I trust".
"Andy is someone who knows what it is to serve his country," Mr Beattie said.
“Both of these men are my friends as well as my colleagues. I know that they will work for the good of everyone in Northern Ireland and to create a union of people as our vision for the future."