'Demoralised' Colin McCusker who held top UUP job quits politics
A former general secretary of the Ulster Unionist Party is leaving politics after becoming disillusioned - but insists he has no quarrel with the party.
Colin McCusker, son of late MP Harold McCusker, said he was left demoralised after the party lost six seats in the 2016 Assembly election.
"I took a leap of faith in 2012 to go into politics full-time, it hasn't worked out," he said.
"If I hadn't tried it, I would always have wondered.
"I worked very hard and there were a lot of aspects that I really enjoyed, but I think long term I couldn't see me doing it for the rest of my life.
"There is no fall out with the UUP or disagreeing over policy.
"The party had done quite well in 2016, and then in 2017 were obliterated and that was very demoralising."
Mr McCusker did not rule out a return to politics in the longer term, but said there would need to be a "major sea change" in local politics.
"Northern Ireland politics has gone backwards instead of forwards, and I couldn't see a return in the short term," he said.
Mr McCusker resigned his post as general secretary in December and the councillor will not seek re-election to Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council next year.
The Lurgan man described some of the highlights of his career as seeing Tom Elliott become the first unionist MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 20 years and also the election of Danny Kinahan to Westminster in South Antrim.
Mr McCusker has returned to work in the private sector, but said it is likely he will remain a member of the Ulster Unionists.
"The family connections with the party go back a long way," he said.
"I have no issues with the party and my membership probably will continue."