JIM Allister has criticised the DUP’s acceptance this week of a Belfast councillor who is a former spokesman for the UDA’s political wing and said that he would not accept those who have links to terror organisations as TUV members.
Cllr Frank McCoubrey, a Shankill representative, was a spokesman for the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) and served as an Independent councillor before joining the DUP this week.
Mr Allister said: “Well, considering that somebody told me that they were trailing it as a big announcement, I was amazed to find that it was somebody with a paramilitary-connected history.
“I do have to express some surprise at the non-discriminatory approach of the DUP through their recruitment; anything seems to go nowadays and what agenda that’s serving I don’t know. It’s a matter for them, not for me.”
When asked if he would accept into membership of the TUV someone who had a link to an organisation such as the UPRG, Mr Allister said: “No.”
A TUV member two years ago campaigned for the release of the notorious loyalist murderer Torrens Knight, something which provoked strong criticism of the party.
When asked if he regretted how he handled that situation, Mr Allister said: “No, it never was a TUV petition. It was one individual who, as I said at the time, indiscreetly took it upon himself as an individual to support that.
“It was very clear where I stood and where the party stood... it’s not something the party was in favour of.”