DUP leader Peter Robinson MLA has welcomed former Ulster Unionist Fred Cobain into the party.
Mr Cobain, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, was a member of the Assembly for North Belfast, from 1998 until 2011.
In a statement, Mr Robinson said; “Fred has a wealth of political experience having been both a member of Belfast City Council for over twenty years and also a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. As chairman of the Social Development Committee in the last Assembly, Fred was known as a champion for those with social and economic problems.
“I know Fred will be a valuable member of the DUP and will have an important role to play in the party as we continue to move Northern Ireland forward.”
Echoing these comments, Nigel Dodds MP added: “I have known Fred for many years and I know his commitment not just to the union, but to the people whom he served for several decades in North Belfast.
“Fred has always worked closely with other unionist colleagues for the good of his constituents and I know that he has been keen to focus on the problems which face many disadvantaged communities. Fred will be a valued DUP member and his decision to join us represents the view of many thousands of unionists across Northern Ireland who want to see a strong DUP representing their views and working to take Northern Ireland forward.”
Commenting on the move, Mr Cobain said: “Throughout my career, I have always recognised the importance of unionism working together for the benefit of everyone in the community. The unionist community is not well-served by a fractured and divided unionism.
“The DUP provides strong representation on our constitutional future, but I also know first-hand of the work done to improve the lives of ordinary people in many communities across North Belfast and beyond.
“I am delighted to be part of a strong and united DUP team and look forward to playing a role in delivering a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”