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David McIlveen: DUP confused between humility and humiliation and detached from reality over RHI

Ex-MLA 'unlikely' to stay in DUP after Arlene Foster criticism

By Jonathan Bell

Former DUP MLA David McIlveen has accused his party's leadership of not knowing the difference between humility and humiliation and of avoiding the issues he raised over the RHI scandal.

He also said his criticism of Arlene Foster over the RHI scandal was nothing personal but he was "unlikely" to remain in the party.

In Thursday's News Letter the ex-Assembly man broke party ranks to say that members of the party now considered Mrs Foster "deeply damaged" and an "electoral liability" in the wake of the RHI fiasco.

He said to centre an election campaign around the First Minister - as the party did at the last campaign - would be impossible and she would be "unlikely" to lead the party into the next election.

In response Sammy Wilson said Mr McIlveen was "sore" over his electoral downfall at the ballot box and there was no evidence of disquiet among the party ranks.

More: 'Sore' David McIlveen can't back up claims of diminishing support for Arlene Foster, claims Sammy Wilson

Mr McIlveen accused the DUP MP of not tackling the issues raised by him in the article.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I have a lot of respect for Sammy and can assure him that none of my opinions were designed to cause any offence.

"That said how he responded is unfortunately symptomatic of the very issue I was trying to raise, by attacking me personally rather than facing up to the issues of public anger that are clearly out there at present shows a detachment from reality.

"Unfortunately the DUP leadership seem to be confused around the difference between humility and humiliation.

"The public have no desire to see our politicians reduced to the latter, but the former would go a long way to restoring faith in the way in which our politicians are viewed."

He continued: "Long before my entrance to politics I learned that the only person who suffers as a result of a grudge is the one who holds it.

"Life for me outside of political life has never been better and to suggest that my motivation was driven by 'soreness' sadly displays how little the one who made the charge actually knows me.

"I was asked to give an opinion and that's what I did, if some people don't like it I am fine with that, it's nothing personal."

When asked about possible sanctions over the comments, Sammy Wilson said they could not be ignored by party officers.

David McIlveen said it was "unlikely" he would remain in the party, when asked of his future.

The DUP said: "Former MLA David McIlveen is entitled to his personal opinions however this is the first time that he has articulated any view since losing his seat.

"The overwhelming support Arlene Foster has received from within the party and beyond including messages from others right across Northern Ireland has been hugely heartening."

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