AN Ulster Unionist councillor who lost the party whip at the same time as Lord Maginnis last night confirmed that he is back in the UUP fold.
Former Antrim Mayor Adrian Watson spoke out at the start of June to say that he opposed power-sharing with Sinn Fein, adding: “Yes, I know it’s totally undemocratic but I’ll never promote Sinn Fein. I don’t think they are fit for public office.”
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt disciplined him but on Monday, a senior UUP source told the News Letter that Cllr Watson had the party whip restored to him at the end of last week.
The source said that as both Mr Watson and Lord Maginnis had been disciplined for comments on the same broadcast, the decision had been taken to reinstate both at the same time.
However, when contacted by the News Letter at lunch time on Wednesday, Mr Watson said that the UUP had not restored the whip to him.
“No they haven’t; I haven’t heard a thing,” he said.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone in the UUP apart from my party colleagues in Antrim. Mike Nesbitt is here today visiting the town of Antrim and unfortunately I’m busy with other things.
“I haven’t heard or seen anything. The last person I spoke to about this was in the last week of June and that was Roy McCune, the vice-chairman.”
He added: “I’m in my office today so if Mike Nesbitt wants to come and see me he can come and see me.”
However, the UUP Press office said on Wednesday night, that the whip had been “offered” to Councillor Watson and “accepted” by him.
Last night Cllr Watson confirmed that the whip was restored to him yesterday afternoon at a meeting with Mr Nesbitt.