Former DUP MLA backs UUP North Antrim candidate

Robin Swann (left) and David McIlveen in a picture posted on Mr Swann's Twitter page
Robin Swann (left) and David McIlveen in a picture posted on Mr Swann's Twitter page

A former DUP MLA has given his backing to an Ulster Unionist candidate as his first preference in North Antrim.

David McIlveen, who represented the constituency at Stormont between 2011 and 2016, said he was supporting the UUP’s Robin Swann in recognition of his hard work.

Mr McIlveen said: “I think he has worked very hard and I think he deserves to be rewarded for his hard work. I have no hesitancy in saying that.

“I am still a card-carrying member and I haven’t received anything yet to suggest otherwise. I have no intentions of willingly leaving the party.”

Mr McIlveen, who polled 3,209 first preference votes but failed to get re-elected last year, added: “Whilst I have difficulties with the direction that the party leadership is going in at the minute – I’m well on the record with that in your newspaper – I remain always hopeful that people can change and people can get back to the basic foundations that the party was built on, but I think we are a long way off that at the minute.”

On Tuesday, Robin Swann tweeted a picture of himself with Mr McIlveen and the message: “Pleased to receive David McIlveen’s personal support & endorsement for Thursdays election in North Antrim.”

Meanwhile, Newtownabbey TUV councillor David Hollis has said that he will vote for the DUP’s William Humphrey in North Belfast, where there is no TUV candidate.

Mr Hollis told the News Letter that he knows Mr Humphrey and trusts him but said that he would not be transferring to any other candidate because he doesn’t trust them.

He said that he remained a TUV member and was only voting in this way because his party was not standing in the constituency.