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Tom Elliott rules out UUP leadership bid despite Campbell endorsement

By Jonny Bell

Tom Elliott has again ruled himself out of running for the UUP leadership, despite getting the endorsement of a senior party figure.

David Campbell who was UUP chairman from 2005 to 2012 said Mr Elliott would be his choice to lead the party. Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Elliott was the party's former leader before Mike Nesibitt, leading the party between 2010 and 2012.

Mr Elliott is the UUP's chief negotiator for the Stormont talks.

Speaking on Good Morning Ulster, Mr Elliott said he could not see "his name being on the ticket" for the party's April 8 AGM.

MLAs Robin Swann and Steve Aiken  remain among the front-runner for the position, with Roy Beggs and Robbie Butler considered outside contenders.

Former soldier Doug Beattie had initially appeared to have no interest in running, but he hasn't completely ruled himself out of the race.

Every member of the party is eligible to both run for the position and to vote in the contest.

While the party's rules don't dictate that a leader has to be an elected representative, sources said it would be highly likely that Mr Nesbitt's successor wouldn't be an MLA.

More: NI Election: Swann and Aiken front runners in quest to be the new leader of Ulster Unionist

The Ulster Unionist Party has 10 MLAs, including Mike Nesbitt. The other nine include:

  • Roy Beggs
  • Robin Swann
  • Andy Allen
  • Robbie Butler
  • Doug Beattie
  • Rosemary Barton
  • Alan Chambers
  • Steve Aiken
  • John Stewart

 

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