'Unhappy' Ruth Patterson not leaving, says DUP
The DUP has insisted that Belfast councillor Ruth Patterson remains a member of the party after speculation that she was unhappy in her role.
It was announced by the DUP at the City Hall last night that Ms Patterson (59), a councillor for the Botanic ward in South Belfast, was being moved off the two most powerful committees.
The firebrand politician had been a member of both the planning committee and strategic policy and resources committee. She is a member of the city growth and regeneration committee.
A DUP source told the Belfast Telegraph that Ms Patterson had been hoping to be co-opted to replace South Belfast MLA Jimmy Spratt, who has retired from the Assembly due to ill health.
However, the vacant seat was handed to Emma Pengelly, a former barrister and special adviser to First Minister Peter Robinson.
A DUP spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph that while he was aware of speculation emerging from Belfast City Council's meeting last night, he had no information to indicate that Ms Patterson was intending to leave the DUP.
"Ruth Patterson remains a member of the party," he said.
Ms Patterson was not present at City Hall last night for the council's monthly meeting, but colleagues explained that a close relative of the former nurse was in hospital.
Ms Patterson could not be reached for comment.