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Chair of Loyalist Communities Council ‘astonished’ over Doug Beattie call to disband group

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LCC chair David Campbell, East Belfast community worker and former loyalist prisoner Jim Wilson and UDA leader Jackie McDonald. Pic PA

LCC chair David Campbell, East Belfast community worker and former loyalist prisoner Jim Wilson and UDA leader Jackie McDonald. Pic PA

LCC chair David Campbell, East Belfast community worker and former loyalist prisoner Jim Wilson and UDA leader Jackie McDonald. Pic PA

The chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council has criticised prospective Ulster Unionist Party leadership candidate Doug Beattie, after the MLA said he would ask the loyalist group to disband if elected leader.

Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Ulster on Tuesday, Mr Beattie said if he did become the party’s fifth leader in four years, he would not be taking any advice from the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC).

“If I meet the Loyalist Communities Council the first thing I will be asking is when they will be disbanding and when they will be leaving our people alone and get their foots off the neck of our people who work hard,” he told the programme.

David Campbell, chairman of the LCC and former chairman of the UUP, said he wished whoever succeeded Steve Aiken “well” and added he hoped that “he or she can restore the fortunes of this historic party”.

However, Mr Campbell hit back at the comments of Doug Beattie in relation to the LCC, describing himself as “astonished” to hear Mr Beattie “denigrate” the organisation

“How will he explain to the Party membership his strategy for regaining the trust of the wider unionist electorate when he begins his campaign by alienating at least a third of that electorate?” said Mr Campbell.

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“I would ask Mr Beattie to reflect on his comments and to reach out to support loyalist unionists rather than parrot the anti-loyalist rhetoric we have come to expect from Alliance and Sinn Fein.'”

Responding to the statement from David Campbell on Tuesday afternoon, Doug Beattie wrote on Twitter: “And I’m sure the comments will carry that decent loyalists should never be seen purely through the lens of paramilitaries.

“The Loyalist community are some of the most socially liberal forward thinking in Northern Ireland.”

The loyalist umbrella group, which represents the views of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando, recently withdrew its support for the Good Friday Agreement amid unionist anger over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

David Campbell and former politician David McNarry, one of the founding members of the group, held a small protest last month at the Linenhall Street, Irish government offices in relation to the protocol.

The two men held a banner featuring a European Commission vice president Maroc Sefcovic, prime minister Boris Johnson, former Tanaiste Simon Coveney and US president Joe Biden.


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