South Down MLA to fight for UUP leadership position | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City

South Down MLA to fight for UUP leadership position

South Down MLA John McCallister is to go head to head with Mike Nesbitt in a bid to be the next leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. The UUP’s AGM on 31st March will see the pair compete in a battle to take over from Tom Elliot, who recently announced he was calling time on his leadership role. Early reports suggested it could have been another local MLA – Danny Kennedy – vying for the top position but last week Kennedy ruled himself out.

Kennedy said, “After careful reflection I have decided that a potentially difficult and divisive leadership election is neither in the interest of the party, or indeed the wider electorate. I have attempted to serve the Ulster Unionist Party to the best of my ability since I first joined it in 1974, and I sincerely believe that the decision I have reached today is the right one, both for me personally and for my Party. I wish the remaining candidates well as they go forward in this contest, and I trust that it will continue to be conducted in the best traditions of the Ulster Unionist Party.”

Kennedy’s refusal to get involved in the leadership contest left it a straight battle between McCallister and Nesbitt and Kennedy rejected any suggestion he had negotiated a deal to remain on as regional development minister under either new leader. “That will be entirely a matter for the new party leader. Whilst Mike and John and I have had discussions, and they have been very considered, no deal has been done and I make my decision on the basis of it being in the best interests of the Ulster Unionist Party and for the long-term future of the party.”

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Posted by on Mar 22 2012. Filed under News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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