Ex-DUP man Bell's sister-in-law backing UUP election candidate
A sister-in-law of former DUP minister Jonathan Bell is backing an Ulster Unionist candidate in May's council elections.
Councillor Pamela Barr, who resigned from the DUP earlier this year, is supporting the UUP's Stephen McCarthy in his bid to be returned to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Mr McCarthy, a west Belfast Catholic, was co-opted on to the council in 2017. Ms Barr, who has sat as an independent since leaving the DUP earlier this year, is not running in the election but signed the UUP representative's nomination papers.
A schoolteacher and DUP member for 18 years, she was not selected by the party to stand again. She had backed her brother-in-law, Jonathan, when he stood as an independent candidate in Strangford in the 2017 Assembly election.
"I am happy to support Stephen McCarthy in his bid for election in Three Mile Water," Ms Barr told the Newtownabbey Times.
"I have worked alongside him in the council and can confidently say he has the best interests of the people in mind.
"While it is unfortunate that the DUP leadership have decided to deselect me, leading to me resigning from the party, it is most important in this election that the people of Three Mile Water make the right choice in voting for representatives that will work hard for them.
"I have every confidence that Stephen will do this."
Mr McCarthy told the Belfast Telegraph he was honoured that Ms Barr was supporting him.