Ulster Unionist Assembly candidate Doug Beattie is “bitterly disappointed” after he was forced to resign from the military with immediate effect.
Captain Beattie was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his actions in Iraq, the Military Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan and the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for his peacekeeping contributions in Bosnia.
But he is now being forced to resign from the military because he is standing in the Assembly Elections as a candidate for the UUP in Upper Bann.
Ulster Unionist Party chairman, Lord Empey, said: “Having completed 34 years in the Army, Doug, who is now a reservist after a 27-year regular career, informed the military he would be standing for election and was informed he could continue with his service until the outcome of the election was known.
“However with just three weeks until the election Doug was informed he had to resign with immediate effect from his position as a full-time reserve service officer - in effect leaving him unemployed if he is not elected in May.
“Doug isn`t going to comment publicly on the MOD`s decision but I know he is bitterly disappointed. After 34 years serving his country in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, never from behind a desk but at the sharp end of the fight, I have to ask why they could not find it possible to give him just three weeks grace in order to safeguard his job if he is not elected. This is a poor decision and indicative of how soldiers and veterans from Northern Ireland are treated.
“The other issue it raises is what sort of message does this send out to others who may have been thinking about making the move into politics. Northern Ireland politics needs people with life experiences.”