Sophie Long quits PUP after McGuinness condolence tweet row
A rising star of the PUP has quit the party after a comment she made on social media following Martin McGuinness' death sparked outrage among some of her colleagues.
Reacting to the death of former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the early hours of Tuesday, Sophie Long tweeted: “condolences to Martin McGuinness’ family, friends and comrades”.
Twitter user Steven Pollock claimed he resigned from the party in protest at her comment, while Ian Shanks said he would quit if Ms Long didn’t.
However others, including Linda Ervine, supported her.
Ms Ervine - wife of David Ervine’s brother Brian - tweeted: “sorry to see you on the receiving end of this unfair criticism. Haven’t noticed it happening to others who have paid respects”.
But Ms Long has confirmed she has now resigned from the PUP.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Ms Long said: “It is with regret that I tender my resignation from the Progressive Unionist Party. I wish the party well in future campaigns and hold several of its members in the highest of regard.”
In terms of her future she added: “My politics remain progressive; I aspire to a society of equals, free from violence, which includes and respects women, refugees, workers, LGBT citizens, and both Britishness and Irishness. I hope that the PUP and others can also promote these values.”
Ms Long had most recently served as Head of Communications for the PUP. Last year she ran for the Assembly in Upper Bann for the party where she attracted 704 votes.
She is currently studying for a Phd in politics at the Queen’s University, Belfast.