DUP's Christopher Stalford selected for South Belfast
DUP councillor Christopher Stalford has been selected to be Emma Pengelly’s running mate in South Belfast in May’s Assembly elections, party sources have said.
Mr Stalford secured the nomination over several other nominees. It is understood the DUP selected him last month but that he delayed accepting for personal family reasons.
Mr Stalford and ex-DUP councillor Ruth Patterson were overlooked last year by the party leadership when it sought to replace retiring MLA Jimmy Spratt.
As long-serving Belfast councillors, the two would have been seen as front-runners for the seat.
However, the DUP picked Ms Pengelly, who had worked as a special advisor to former first minister Peter Robinson. Ms Pengelly’s selection caused ructions in the DUP, and Ms Patterson’s description of her as “a well-paid blow-in” led to her expulsion from the party.
Mr Stalford’s nomination may help mend fences, but with only one party candidate successful in 2011, there will be strong competition between him and Ms Pengelly for votes, party sources said.