The DUP faces the possibility of seeing a former DUP MLA stand against it in Foyle after Maurice Devenney joined the Ulster Unionists.
Maurice Devenney – who left the DUP last week after the party suspended him over an allegation which he said was “spurious” – yesterday announced that he had joined the UUP “after prayerful consideration”.
The move means that the UUP now has three councillors on Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The UUP had selected Julia Kee as its candidate but there are rumours that she could stand aside and Mr Devenney, a more established political figure in the area, could now stand for the UUP.
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said he was particularly pleased to welcome Mr Devenney, pictured above, into the party, given his standing in the community, his lengthy record of service for the people, and his “obvious appetite for more”.
He said: “Maurice joins an ever-lengthening list of elected representatives who are opting to change their party political allegiance to Ulster Unionism. He joins ex-DUP councillors Jenny and John Palmer from Lisburn, William Cudworth formerly of the TUV in Bangor, Joe Jordan, a previous Ukip candidate in Strangford and Heather Fee from Mallusk who has joined us from NI21.”
Mr Devenney was welcomed to the party at an extraordinary meeting of the Foyle UUP Association on Thursday night.
Among the first to congratulate Mr Devenney and welcome him to the party was veteran UUP Alderman Mary Hamilton, who said: “I have known Maurice for many years and have worked in harmony with him in the council throughout our careers as aldermen.
“He is one of the most fair, honest people I have ever worked alongside in my capacity as an Alderman, despite the fact that up to now we have been in different parties. Maurice’s track record and his ethics when dealing with people are unimpeachable and I look forward to working with him within the UUP in the future.
“He is very welcome to the UUP.”