A UUP candidate who stood for election in North Down on May 5 has announced that she has resigned from the party.
Naomi McBurney said she’s committed to campaigning on school uniform costs, childcare and early intervention mental health services and said she wants to carry out further campaigning on those issues.
"In order for me to do so fully and remove any perceived bias, I have resigned my membership of the Ulster Unionist Party and will no longer be a representative for the party in North Down,” she said, posting on social media.
She thanked the UUP for the opportunity they offered her to stand for election, particularly members who supported her throughout the campaign.
Her tweet concluded: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone across the political parties who supported or encouraged me over these past few months – I have made many good friends.
“I hope to continue to connect with you and indeed work with many of you in the months and years ahead as we strive to make Northern Ireland better for everyone.”
UUP Councillor Jill McCauley wished her former colleague well saying it was a pleasure to work with her.
Ms McBurney was eliminated at the sixth count of the Assembly election in her constituency.
She ran alongside the party’s other candidate Alan Chambers in North Down. He was first elected in 2016 and took the fifth seat in that constituency this time round.
When announced as a UUP candidate in October 2021, Ms McBurney described herself as a mother of two children, studying social policy at Ulster University.
She chose to get involved in local politics because she wanted to play a part in delivering the change she believes is necessary, rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
“I have been heavily involved in a number of campaigns and I established #bringitbacktoprimary which first introduced me to the party. I have since founded the Parent Engagement Group with mental health campaigner Lindsay Robinson and we are currently campaigning on the excessive price of school uniforms and PE kits.
“I am passionate about education and ensuring parents, children and young people have a voice in that space. That is reflected in my campaign work,” she said.
“When I was growing up, unionists always seemed to be men in dark suits but I detect a clear difference in the Ulster Unionist Party of today which I see as offering a positive, hopeful and progressive pro-Union stance.
“The party’s message is that you don’t have to be a certain type of person to be a unionist and the only criteria that matters is believing Northern Ireland is best served as part of the Union. I want constructive politics and am supportive of the Union. The Ulster Unionist Party delivers on both counts.”
During the campaign Mr Chambers who was re-elected on May 5 said Naomi McBurney was exactly the sort of person that the UUP and Northern Ireland needs.