Ballyclare councillor quits TUV and joins Ulster Unionists

Councillor David Arthurs (centre) is welcomed back into the UUP by, from left, Adrian Cochrane-Watson MLA, Alderman Mark Cosgrove, party leader Mike Nesbitt MLA and Robin Swann MLA. INNT 46-533CON

Councillor David Arthurs (centre) is welcomed back into the UUP by, from left, Adrian Cochrane-Watson MLA, Alderman Mark Cosgrove, party leader Mike Nesbitt MLA and Robin Swann MLA. INNT 46-533CON

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Ballyclare Councillor David Arthurs has joined the Ulster Unionist Party, just days after quitting the TUV.

Cllr Arthurs left the TUV claiming that he had become “disillusioned” with the party leadership.

His decision to quit came shortly after the party selected Richard Cairns as its South Antrim candidate for next year’s Assembly election. But the Ballyclare man - who was a member of the UUP before his switch to the TUV a few years ago - insists that wasn’t the reason for his departure.

Cllr Arthurs, who was elected to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council as a TUV candidate in the Ballyclare DEA in 2014, said he’s delighted to be returning to the ranks of the Ulster Unionist Party.

“After thinking about my future over the weekend I am delighted to have joined my many friends and now colleagues in the Ulster Unionist Party. Like me they share a passion to ‘Do what’s right for Northern Ireland’. I have a close working relationship already with my 12 Ulster Unionist Party colleagues on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and look forward to working with Jim Bingham and Vera McWilliam to deliver results on the ground for the people of Ballyclare.

“Only the Ulster Unionist Party, under Mike Nesbitt’s astute leadership, has the strength and the critical support to bring about the fundamental changes that our province so badly needs. I am delighted to be joining ‘Team UUP’ at such an important time.”

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said: “I am delighted to welcome David back to the Ulster Unionist Party and look forward to working with him as part of our growing team of elected representatives. We have critical momentum, not just in Ballyclare and South Antrim, but across Northern Ireland as people yearn for an alternative to the eight long years of DUP/Sinn Fein poor quality government.”

The UUP leader on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Alderman Mark Cosgrove commented: “I was delighted that David advised me that he wanted to join the Ulster Unionist Party, bringing us to 13 councillors, our largest grouping in the Province.

“David has already proved a tremendous advocate for the people of Ballyclare during his time on the council and working with Jim and Vera they will make a very formidable team. I know that David will prove a tremendous asset over the coming years.”

Ulster Unionist South Antrim MLA and former council colleague Adrian Cochrane-Watson said: “Having been a colleague of David’s at council for over a year I am really pleased that he has decided to join us. David is a hard working Councillor who is active on the ground and I am sure he will prosper within our party. I look forward to working closely with David over the coming months and years.”

South Antrim UUP MP Danny Kinahan added: “I have known David for many years and have a great deal of respect for the quality of representation he has given the people of Ballyclare since his election in 2014. Following our terrific success in the 2014 council elections and winning back South Antrim at this year’s general election, this is another very welcome piece of news as we seek to make gains in the Assembly elections next year.”

Commenting on the Ballyclare representative’s decision to leave the party, a TUV spokesman claimed that Cllr Arthurs had stressed his commitment to the party just last week.

“TUV was surprised to hear of the resignation of Cllr David Arthurs given that he had never expressed any dissatisfaction with the stand of the party. In fact, he sought to secure the South Antrim Assembly nomination for the party a few days ago. At the selection meeting David stressed his commitment to TUV,” he said.

“One wonders if his decision to leave the party has anything to do with the fact that he failed to secure the party’s Assembly nomination.

“Cllr Arthurs, having never contested an election previously, got elected as a TUV representative. Now that he has resigned he has left TUV voters in Ballyclare disenfranchised and asking questions of his behaviour.

“TUV has at all times tried to support Cllr Arthurs, but we are sorry he feels he can no longer stay within the party. Our aims and principles are clear. We wish him well.”