Belfast Telegraph

UUP chief Robin Swann 'considered position' after poor election

UUP leader Robin Swann pictured at the count.
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
UUP leader Robin Swann pictured at the count. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said he considered his position following the party's poor result in the European elections.

On Monday, Danny Kennedy failed to retain the European Parliament seat the party had held since 1979.

The Ulster Unionist vote collapsed, garnering just 9.3% of first preference ballots - down 4.1% from the 2014 election.

The result follows a poor showing at the recent local government elections, where the party ended up with 75 councillors - a loss of 13 seats.

Speaking on the BBC's Nolan Show, Robin Swann was asked whether he thought about stepping down following the party's performance.

"After yesterday's results there is a lot of questions going through my mind, and that is one of them - I'll not deny it," he said.

"But, at this moment in time I am the leader. If the party wants to go in a different direction I am big enough to take that and the party is big enough to take that.

"I didn't take on the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party because of ego or any sense of self-importance.

"I took it on because I thought there was a job of work to do, I thought there was a job of work I could do, there is still a job of work to do and I will continue doing that.

"So look, it's up to the party to decide - we're bigger than one man and I'm big enough to do what's best for the Ulster Unionist Party."

Despite his considerations, Mr Swann said he not be resigning his position as UUP leader.

"I'm not running away from the responsibility the party gave me at the last AGM," he said.

Robin Swann became leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in April 2017, after Mike Nesbitt stepped down the previous month following the party's poor performance in the Assembly elections.

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