One year after joining Ukip, former Belfast Chamber of Commerce president Joe Jordan has defected to the Ulster Unionists.
Mr Jordan’s new party leader has welcomed him as “another high profile and well respected member of our community” to join the UUP.
Mike Nesbitt said: “In recent weeks, we have attracted elected representatives and former candidates from the DUP, NI21 and Ukip, which indicates we have a vision that is finding favour right across the pro-Union community.
“I look forward to working with Joe as we put the prosperity of our people at the heart of our Alternative Programme for Government.”
Mr Nesbitt added: “Joe has vast experience in the world of business and I have asked him to liaise with the business community, looking at the practical issues that affect them on a daily basis.
“Engagement with business is vital as we look to make Northern Ireland the most attractive small country in the world.”
Mr Jordan, who stood as a Ukip Westminster candidate for Strangford earlier this year, was chamber president during the Union Flag protests of 2013.
During that time he made several appeals for parades and police riot squads to be clear of the city centre by lunchtime on Saturdays in an effort to reduce trading difficulties.
He said: “My roots are firmly in the business world and I want to be able to use my skills and experience to positive effect, where I have a better chance to influence policies on issues surrounding our town and city centres throughout the entire Province which are in need of support and new thinking.”
Mr Jordan added: “I hope that by engaging directly with the business community on a more frequent basis I’ll be able to feed their practical ideas, for both the present and future, into the centre of politics.”