Former UUP candidate joins Alliance
Former Ulster Unionist Harry Hamilton, who attracted significant support in the general election, has defected to the Alliance Party.
The would-be politician, previously better known as a Freddie Mercury impersonator, secured widespread media attention when he swapped the stage for the political platform.
He scored well with the electorate and won more than 10,500 votes in Upper Bann, despite failing to seize the area's Westminster seat.
Given his relatively strong polling he had been expected to be selected as an Ulster Unionist candidate for May's Assembly elections, but was overlooked by the party.
The UUP, which failed to win any seats in the Westminster poll despite its electoral alliance with the Conservative Party, has suffered a series of high-profile resignations.
Alliance leader David Ford said: "I am very pleased to welcome Harry into the Alliance Party. He is a highly regarded and very popular representative in Upper Bann.
"It speaks volumes that Harry was the person who polled highest out of all of the Ulster Unionist Party candidates in the general election, and the fact that he has decided to come to us demonstrates the current momentum of the Alliance Party."
Mr Hamilton said: "I believe that Alliance has shown it is prepared to engage with the growing section of our community who feel disillusioned and disappointed with the blinkered political parties that continue to distil political debate here into a tribal headcount."
The 45-year-old, who is married with three daughters and is from the Lurgan area of Co Armagh, is a business development manager, although he also built a successful career as an entertainer.
He added: "I believe in the need for politicians to show leadership and the need to build a united community. These are the principles I entered politics to promote and I believe they can be best achieved through the Alliance Party."