Unhappiness over candidate choices

editorial image

I am writing to express my disappointment with the Ulster Unionist Party regarding the way in which the candidate selection process for the upcoming Assembly election was handled.

I was a member of the North Down Association from 2011 until recently.

When I joined the UUP it was on its knees and since then I have seen the work that was put in to help rebuild locally and was encouraged by the increase in membership and popularity.

I know that is due in no small part to the hard work and diligence of Councillor Daniel Allen. The evidence for this is that Cllr Allen polled higher than a former Mayor and sitting councillors on his first ever run at public office.

Daniel is very highly regarded by most but appears to have been overlooked in favour of Cllr Alan Chambers, who joined the party mere months ago, having been an Independent for the entirety of his political life.

That suggests a lack of confidence in the message of the party if an independent is needed to bring in a perceived personal vote.

His selection was neither debated nor explained with grass-roots members.

I joined the Ulster Unionist Party because it represented a democratic party that valued its members input into decision making. That seems to have changed with the recent selection of candidates.

In my opinion Mike Nesbitt has made a short-term decision regarding North Down - as well as other constituencies - to the detriment of the party as a whole.

I believe that type of leadership only favours sycophants and opportunists.

That is not the sort of party I will be a member of.

Martyn Henry, Bangor