Belfast Telegraph

McClarty mum on rejoining Unionists

David McClarty has refused to say if he will rejoin the Ulster Unionists to give them an extra ministerial post.

The new independent MLA for East Londonderry refused to be drawn on whether he would help his former party take the Executive seat from the Alliance Party.

At present the Ulster Unionists are only entitled to one under the system for allocating portfolios after they won 16 seats in the Assembly election, but that is double the Alliance total.

Mr McClarty said: "I am elated at having achieved the victory, I will take time to enjoy the experience. At this stage I am not about to make any decisions whatsoever and I will take a day or two so that I can recover from the exertions of the campaign."

The Alliance Party only has eight seats compared to the UUP's 16, but if Mr McClarty refuses to rejoin his old party Alliance would control two departments to the UUP's one because David Ford will probably take the justice ministry as agreed under the policing and justice settlement.

Mr McClarty stood down from the UUP at Christmas after he was deselected to fight the election by his local party branch.

Of the decision, he said: "It was nothing short of petty jealousy from some. I don't blame the two candidates, they were used as pawns by those who tried to oust me."


From Belfast Telegraph