Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

PUP chiefs meet to discuss future following Purvis resignation

Dawn Purvis

The Progressive Unionist Party’s executive is expected to meet today in the aftermath of the resignation of leader Dawn Purvis.

The initial session comes ahead of a full party meeting to chart the way forward for the UVF-linked political organisation, which is due on Wednesday.

It has been pencilled in amid continuing speculation that a number of senior members, including former deputy leader David Rose, are set to follow Ms Purvis’ departure.

Ex-integrated schoolteacher Mr Rose, a former North Down council candidate, indicated he is taking soundings both inside the party and among other unionists before he makes any decision.

Interim leader John Kyle has said he expects a number of other party members will also resign but it was impossible to calculate how many, or when they would go.

And he admitted weapons have been retained by some elements of the paramilitary group.

“Clearly there are still weapons around and there are people who still believe that violence is justifiable and are prepared to resort to it,” he said.

The PUP website says the small minority of its members “who are former combatants believe fully in PUP policy and therefore are opposed to violence and wish for a peaceful and equitable Northern Ireland to develop from our conflict”.

Ms Purvis confirmed she has stood down as leader following the UVF murder of loyalist Bobby Moffett.

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