DUP and Allister set for poll showdown

THE DUP and Jim Allister's Traditional Unionist Voice are going head to head at the polls for the first time.

Last night the DUP selected Paul Stewart to contest the Dromore by-election for Banbridge District Council next month.

Earlier in the day, Jim Allister’s TUV paraded its candidate, solicitor Keith Harbinson, while the Ulster Unionists have already chosen Carol Black to contest the seat, previously held by the UUP’s Tyrone Howe.

Last night Mr Stewart, an aide to MP Jeffrey Donaldson, said he was thrilled to be selected.

“I believe our party is in a very strong position and we will be going out in the next three weeks to convince people of our policies,” he said.

“I look forward to the challenges in the next few weeks.”

There will be higher than normal interest in the poll as it is the first electoral test of unionist opinion since the emergence of the TUV last year.

Mr Harbinson announced his candidacy, stating there was “unionist unrest” which the results of the election would reveal.

UUP candidate Mrs Black, a married woman with two children, is a constituency manager for Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea.

“Carol is part of the UUP’s attempt to get women into local politics and with her 17 years’ experience in Dromore and in my constituency office, Carol is well-experienced in local issues,” said Mr McCrea.

“This could be an interesting election and interesting times.”

The Alliance Party’s candidate to contest the election is David Griffin. The poll is on February 13.

See page 9