March 25th, 2010
“As we approach the end of this Parliament with the Easter Recess beginning next Tuesday and Dissolution expected shortly thereafter, the mandate given to me at the last General Election to serve the people of North Down as an Ulster Unionist is virtually at an end.
The distance, however, between me and my Party has become so great over recent months that I have decided to resign from the Ulster Unionist Party with effect from midnight last night (Wednesday). I have taken a considerable amount of time to think and to reflect before coming to this decision, but I believe it to be the right one for the Party and for me. That said, leaving the Ulster Unionist Party causes me profound sadness, as I have been proud to serve it at Westminster since first becoming its MP for North Down in 2001.
I have already notified my resignation to the Party Leader, Sir Reg Empey MLA, and also to the Chairman of the local UUP Association, Alan McFarland MLA. Whatever the political differences between the Party and me, I remain deeply appreciative of kindnesses shown by and good friendships made with members throughout the Party, and especially those in the local Association.
It is now my intention to stand my ground, fighting the forthcoming General Election as an independent and fighting to win. The tremendous support I have received from constituents during the recent stressful and difficult time in my political life has encouraged me greatly, and convinced me that I ought to run again as a candidate.
It has been truly a privilege for me to serve the people of North Down for the last nine years, and it will be the people of North Down who will give the ultimate verdict on my record as their MP.”
Entry Filed under: Press Statements