Belfast Telegraph

McNarry suspended after fall-out

Assembly member David McNarry has been suspended from the Ulster Unionists for nine months, the party said.

The sanction comes in the wake of a public fall-out with outgoing party leader Tom Elliott.

Mr McNarry dramatically quit the UUP's Assembly group in January after Mr Elliott demoted him from a Stormont committee position for remarks he made in a media interview about UUP talks with the DUP.

While he took a position on the independent benches in the Assembly chamber, the Strangford representative insisted he would remain a member of the party.

The party's internal disciplinary proceedings were triggered following the publication of an interview Mr McNarry gave to the Belfast Telegraph about the potential for closer working relations with the DUP.

He told the paper that in the future the DUP could hold Stormont's first minister position, with the UUP holding the office's junior minister post.

Mr Elliott said he knew about the interview in advance but claimed his colleague had not stuck to agreed party lines and had overstated the potential link-up with their unionist rivals.

He demoted him from vice-chair of the Assembly's Education Committee as punishment.

But Mr McNarry insisted he had acted correctly and claimed Mr Elliott had demoted him under pressure from UUP members opposed to his views.

A spokesman for the UUP said: "The Ulster Unionist Party can confirm that a letter has been issued to David McNarry MLA by the Party's disciplinary committee and that he has been suspended from the Party with immediate effect. As this remains an internal disciplinary matter, the Party will not be making any further comment."

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