The former DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly has announced she is to step away from the party after being “deeply saddened” over the tensions following the election of Edwin Poots.
The former MP for south Belfast lost her seat to the SDLP’s Claire Hanna in the 2019 General Election, then taking up a role as a special advisor in the Executive Office.
In a statement on her Facebook page, Ms Little-Pengelly said she has asked Edwin Poots that her name does not go forward for “consideration for a Special Advisor or other post” within the DUP.
In response to a number of DUP members who quit the party amid the row over the bitter fallout of Arlene Foster being ousted as leader, Ms Little-Pengelly had tweeted earlier this week she was “devastated”.
In her latest post, she wrote: “I have decided that it is the right time for me to step back and take some time in pursuit of other interests for the next number of years.
“It has been a considerable privilege to work and serve this party over the last 14 years, serving first as Special Adviser to the Rt Hon Dr Paisley, and then to the Rt Hon Peter Robinson. It was an incredible honour to serve as MLA, Junior Minister and then MP for this Party.
“I had not been intending to return as Special Adviser, but did so when asked in January 2020 to help and support the restoration of the Institutions, given the importance of that to all in Northern Ireland.
“I believe therefore that this is the right time to step back for a while. I do hope to have the privilege to serve this Party, the Union and the people of Northern Ireland in politics in the future.
“The DUP is a party that I love, I have supported and been a member of this Party for my whole active life. I believe in this Party as I believe a strong DUP is the best placed to protect this Union and deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.
“I have been deeply saddened by what has happened over the last number of weeks, in particular the nature and manner. I fundamentally believe in principles of decency, respect, kindness and respect.
“There is a huge piece of work to be done moving forward, to bring this Party back together and to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. Indeed, importantly to work to serve not self but to protect the Union.
“I wish those who know carry this responsibility all the best for the challenges and times ahead.”