NORTHERN Ireland Assembly Deputy Speaker David McClarty confirmed last night he will fight the May Stormont elections as an Independent.
The East Londonderry MLA was de-selected by the UUP Constituency Association in September and resigned from the party at the turn of the year.
He told the News Letter: “I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support – by phone, Facebook, email, personal and at my constituency office – with people totally puzzled by the de-selection decision and asking me to contest the elections in May.
“It has been suggested that, with my moderate views, I should go Alliance like Harry Hamilton in Upper Bann.
“But Alliance are luke warm on the union and I will be fighting as an Independent Unionist.”
Former Westminster candidate Lesley Macauley and Mr McClarty’s fellow Coleraine councillor David Harding were given the nod by the East Londonderry selection committee, leaving Mr McClarty “devastated, as my heart and soul was in the UUP and serving East Londonderry on their behalf”.