A FORMER Ulster Unionist council candidate has defected to the Conservative Party due to his opposition to Tom Elliott’s leadership.
Neil McNickle, a former member of the Armed Forces, joined the UUP in 2009 but was unsuccessful in his bid to get elected to Lisburn City Council in 2011.
Mr McNickle said he had been having serious misgivings about Mr Elliott’s leadership of the UUP for some time and had considered running against Mr Elliott as a stalking horse candidate at the party’s AGM next month – but decided instead to leave and apply to join the Conservative Party.
“Right throughout Tom’s leadership I haven’t been entirely happy, for example, him calling people scum didn’t sit well with me,” Mr McNickle said.
“There has been a lot of talk about change in the party, but nothing has happened.
“Tom is a good man but there is a feeling that he is totally out of his depth.”
A number of former UCUNF candidates have recently defected to the Northern Ireland Conservatives, including Bill Manwaring and Leslie Macaulay.