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Ukip's ex-Northern Ireland chairman joins Traditional Unionist Voice

Published 10/11/2015

Henry Reilly, a member of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, was thrown out of Ukip after disciplinary proceedings
Henry Reilly, a member of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, was thrown out of Ukip after disciplinary proceedings

Ukip's former Northern Ireland chairman has joined the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) less than a week after being expelled from the party.

Henry Reilly, a member of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, was thrown out of Ukip after disciplinary proceedings.

The TUV, a strident critic of the power-sharing administration in Belfast, also has a strong eurosceptic stance.

Mr Reilly, from Kilkeel in County Down, was Ukip's candidate in last year's European elections, in which he received more than 24,000 votes.

He resigned as chairman of Ukip Northern Ireland in August after an apparent dispute with leader and Stormont Assembly member David McNarry.

But, following the visit of party leader Nigel Farage to Belfast in September, Ukip issued a statement saying Mr Reilly had been suspended.

At the time, Mr Reilly claimed action had been taken against him for a "minor technical issue" related to comments he made to the press on the day of Mr Farage's visit about his resignation as chairman.

Last week Ukip announced the party had decided to expel him from its membership.

Mr Reilly said the TUV was his "natural home".

"In joining TUV I know I am doing the right thing, because this is the only unionist party still standing unapologetically for the traditional unionist principles in which I believe," he said.

"It is also a party wholly committed to re-establishing the national sovereignty of the UK by taking the essential step of leaving the EU. Thus, it is my natural home and I greatly appreciate the kinship and welcome which I feel in joining TUV.

"I look forward to playing my part in rebuilding the voice of traditional unionism in South Down, after all the disappointment of those who have toadied to the IRA/Sinn Fein agenda. I sense a reawakening of traditional unionism in this constituency in which I want to play a leading part."

TUV leader Jim Allister said he was delighted to welcome the former Ukip man into his party ranks.

"Henry is both a proven, staunch traditional unionist and eurosceptic. As such he fits exactly into the TUV profile. I welcome him as a considerable asset to the party."

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