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DUP tight-lipped over ex-mayor Hogg on drink driving charge


Accused: Thomas Hogg

Accused: Thomas Hogg

Accused: Thomas Hogg

A former two-time DUP mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey has been accused of drink driving.

But his party is refusing to say if it is going to refer Thomas Hogg's case to the Local Government Commissioner, which recently suspended an Alliance politician for six months after he was convicted of a similar offence.

Councillor Hogg - who was awarded an MBE in 2016 - was stopped by police on the Crumlin Road in Belfast on April 29.

The 30-year-old was charged with driving a vehicle with excess alcohol and will appear in the city's Magistrates Court on May 25.

The DUP is saying little about the matter, but friends of the politician say he fears the charge, for which he has yet to enter a formal plea, could destroy his career.

Last year, one of Mr Hogg's DUP colleagues on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Trevor Beatty (63), resigned after he was convicted of drink driving.

A DUP source told our sister paper, Sunday Life: "Thomas is someone the party has high hopes for - he was mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey on two occasions, and awarded an MBE, all before his 30th birthday.

"This drink driving charge, if he is convicted, could have a real impact on his career.

"Thomas is really upset about the whole matter, it's been a tough few weeks for him."

If Mr Hogg is convicted, he could face disciplinary action from the Local Government Commissioner (LGC) for breaching its code of conduct.

Two weeks ago, Alliance's Newry, Mourne and Down District councillor Patrick Brown was suspended from public office by the Local Government Commissioner for six months, having confessed to a drink drive charge.

This was after Downpatrick Magistrates Court banned him from driving for 12 months and fined him £250.

Last night, the DUP was staying tight-lipped on what disciplinary action, if any, it intends taking if Thomas Hogg is convicted.

Originally from Fermanagh, the former Portora Royal School student was elected a DUP councillor in 2011 when he was aged just 23.

A member of both the Apprentice Boys and the Royal Black Preceptory, Mr Hogg served as Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey over two consecutive years between 2014 and 2016

The party did not respond to a request for comment.

Belfast Telegraph