Angry Alliance Party figures have demanded a North Down councillor who defected to the DUP should stand down.
Adam Harbinson, who has signalled the move over recent months, was co-opted by Alliance rather than being elected.
But the Bangor West representative has quit and joined the DUP in protest at Alliance’s stance in relation to gay marriage.
“Alliance Party’s unequivocal support for gay marriage and the pressure they applied on elected representatives to back it were the last straw for me,” he said yesterday. After indicating he might resign and become an independent, he explained: “The attacks which followed my departure from Alliance were not only deeply disappointing but demonstrated the lack of tolerance displayed when someone holds views outside of Alliance policy.”
Describing his reaction as “astonished”, North Down Alliance group leader Andrew Muir said: “Adam now has no moral authority to continue as a councillor.
“After recent events any move from the Alliance Party to the DUP is simply not credible. Whilst Alliance has remained steadfast in support of a shared future the DUP have whipped up tensions.”
“With Alliance Party offices and elected representatives targeted in recent weeks as part of a campaign of intimidation we find it shocking that Adam has moved so quickly.”