Jim Wells is likely to be chosen to contest his Assembly seat of South Down once more, it emerged on Sunday.
The veteran DUP man’s candidacy has been the subject of debate, after a difficult year for the MLA.
He had been involved in a number of controversies since last April, his wife has been seriously ill, and he too had spoken of being in a “really dark place” as a result of his various tribulations.
He has represented the constituency for 21 years, and said in January that he wanted to stand again – however, no decision had been taken by the party on whether he would be selected as its candidate again in May.
However, the News Letter now understands that he will be selected.
Glyn Hanna, DUP councillor for the Mournes area, said he expects an official announcement on Monday.
He said that “last year Jim had a very difficult year”, but added that as far as the local party branch was concerned, “he was always the man for us in South Down”.
Asked why it had taken so long, he said: “I’ve no idea why there was a hold up, so I haven’t.”
Perhaps the main controversy he was involved in saw him resign as health minister following claims that he had linked child abuse to gay adoption during a panel discussion last April – something he has strongly denied saying, stressing that the full audio recording of the meeting in question makes his point clear.
When contacted, Mr Wells himself would only confirm that an announcement will be made soon.