Belfast Telegraph

New Ulster Unionist Party leader to be selected next month

Outgoing UUP leader Robin Swann
Outgoing UUP leader Robin Swann

The new leader of the Ulster Unionist Party is to be selected next month, the party has said.

Robin Swann, who was elected leader in 2017, announced last month that he was stepping down.

He said he had been reflecting on his position for a number of months and the impact it has on his "role as a husband and father".

“I have concluded that one is taking up the lion’s share of my time to the detriment of the other. It is unfair to my young family to allow this to continue," said.

The announcement came after two disappointing electoral performances for the UUP in May.

The party lost the European parliamentary seat it had held for 40 years, trailing in sixth in the May election.

On Thursday night, Mr Swann said: “After consultation with family and close colleagues, I have informed the Party Chairman, Lord Empey, that the process to select my successor should be brought forward.

“The Ulster Unionist Council will meet on Saturday 9th November at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick to select a new Party Leader.”

South Antrim MLA Steve Aiken has confirmed he will stand for the leadership, while it is understood former leader Mike Nesbitt and Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie will also challenge for the position.

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