DUP leader Peter Robinson yesterday welcomed the defection of an Ulster Unionist councillor.
But last night the UUP revealed that just two weeks ago, Carrickfergus councillor Beryl McKnight had applied to be the UUP candidate in next year’s elections to the new “super councils”.
The UUP said that she had not been successful in that process — which saw Carrick deputy mayor John Stewart selected as the party’s candidate — and had then decided to jump ship.
Cllr McKnight — who was first elected two years ago — said she had considered her future in the UUP for “some time” but would try to continue “a good working relationship with the elected members of the UUP on Carrick council”.
The shift gives the DUP a majority on the council with nine of the 17 seats, and leaves the UUP with three councillors — Cllr Stewart, Cllr Eric Ferguson and Cllr Andrew Wilson.
Mr Robinson said that anyone who “wants to strengthen unionism” should be joining the DUP, and added: “Beryl is very well known for her community involvement and work right across Carrickfergus and she will be a tremendous asset to the DUP team.”
Alliance councillor Noel Williams said his party was the “main alternative” to the DUP, adding: “If people in Carrick vote for UUP candidates they actually get what the DUP wants as there is a seamless join between the two parties in the borough.”