DUP selects convicted drink driver Thomas Hogg to run in upcoming elections
A DUP councillor who has recently been convicted of drink driving has been selected by the party to stand in the upcoming local elections.
Thomas Hogg, who admitted drink-driving in court in Belfast in May last year, will run as a candidate for the DUP to represent Macedon on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in May.
Mr Hogg (30) was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £250 and later suspended from the DUP.
He had been stopped by police on the Crumlin Road in Belfast on April 29 last year.
The Local government Commissioner for Standards carried out an investigation into Mr Hogg's conduct and decided to suspend him from being a councillor for five months.
The watchdog said he "breached the local government code of conduct which states that councillors must not bring their position as councillor, or of their council into disrepute".
Mr Hogg accepted the sanction and said he was deeply sorry for his behaviour, promising it would not happen again.
The Belfast Telegraph understands the DUP selected Mr Hogg unanimously during a meeting of the local party association.
It is also understood DUP MP's Nigel Dodds, Gavin Robinson, Emma Little-Pengelly, as well as former DUP party leader Peter Robinson, were present at his selection.
Councillor Tom Smith, who sits on Ards and North Down Borough Council, took to social media to slam the decision to select Mr Hogg.
Posting above a BBC story about Mr Hogg's suspension, Cllr Smith wrote: "I am disgusted that the party has selected this guy to run as a candidate in the council elections. He is a convicted drunk driver currently suspended from being a councillor. I know many in the party feel the same but will they speak out? They should."
Cllr Smith has yet to respond to a request for comment, but it is understood he has not been selected by the party to run in the upcoming council elections.
A DUP spokesperson said: “Cllr Hogg has previously accepted his suspension and apologised for his behaviour. He has been selected by party members and we don’t intend giving a running commentary on our selection processes.”
Mr Hogg was elected as a DUP councillor in 2011. He served as mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey for two consecutive years from 2014.
He was made an MBE in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to local government.
Belfast Telegraph Digital