DUP councillor Tom Smith resigns from party
A DUP councillor who broke ranks to support the LGBT community has resigned from the party.
Last month, Ards and North Down Borough Council representative Tom Smith was deselected by the DUP for local government elections in May.
In December, Mr Smith went against the party and voted in favour of a motion to light up Ards Town Hall in rainbow colours to mark LGBT Awareness Week.
Following his deselection, he lambasted the DUP over the decision and said he will never be a "nodding dog" for the party.
"It is clear that the DUP were asking me to do something that I have not done in the past, that is to sit on council and just be a nodding dog for them, someone ready to put their hand up for a vote whenever it is required," he said.
"If that is the price they are asking to become one of their candidates then it is a price I am not willing to pay.
"Of course, I am sure there will be those who will be more than happy to sit there and put their hand up on command and do very little else. That isn't me."
In a Tweet on Monday, Mr Smith said he has now resigned from the party.
As of today I have resigned from the DUP. If anyone is looking for @tomsmithDUP he is gone! But you can still get me at @CllrTomSmith !— Tom Smith (@CllrTomSmith) March 18, 2019
Last month, Tom Smith was strongly criticised by DUP MLA Jim Wells over his support for lighting up Ards Town Hall in rainbow colours, stating that he hoped Mr Smith "will soon be an ex-DUP councillor".
Mr Smith has also hit out at the party for selecting councillor Thomas Hogg to stand in May's election, after he was convicted of drink driving.
In a social media post above a BBC story about Mr Hogg's suspension, he wrote: "I am disgusted that the party has selected this guy to run as a candidate in the council elections.
“He is a convicted drunk driver currently suspended from being a councillor. I know many in the party feel the same but will they speak out? They should.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital