Mismanaged and amateurish: Ex-UUP chairman David Campbell quits party
A former chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Campbell, has resigned from the party.
David Campbell, a native of Carrickfergus who also served as David Trimble's chief of staff, said the UUP was "unrecognisable" from the party he joined 35 years ago saying describing its downfall as "a tragedy".
In a statement to the News Letter, Mr Campbell said his recommendation that the UUP should have struck a deal with the DUP was borne out in last week's election results.
He said: "Within my own party, I argued that terms should be reached with the DUP while the party still had electoral credibility and I warned that, if the party did not act, the electorate would act for them.
"This position has now come to pass. It is a tragedy that the Ulster Unionist Party of today is unrecognisable from the party that I joined 35 years ago or more recently had the privilege of chairing."
Mr Campbell continued: "Regrettably, the mismanagement, amateurism, and fundamental disrespect witnessed over the past five years has brought us to this all-time low and I feel that I can no longer allow myself to be associated with it.
"Accordingly, I have now resigned as a member and trustee of the Ulster Unionist Party."
Speaking on the BBC, Mr Campbell said the "electoral dynamic in Northern Ireland has changed irrevocably" following Sinn Fein's success in the NI assembly election which resulted in voters flocking to the DUP in the General Election.
With some elements of liberalism having crept into the traditionally conservative UUP in recent years, Mr Campbell said he "takes comfort" that "in the eyes of the average unionist elector, the DUP is largely what the Ulster Unionist Party once was".
Mr Campbell is also chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) which is liniked to the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando. The LCC issued a statement before the general election warning unionists that votes for the Alliance party would be "nails in the coffin" of unionism. Both the UUP and the DUP said they rejected endorsements from paramilitary groups.
Efforts were made to contact both David Campbell and the UUP but no comment has yet been received.
Belfast Telegraph Digital