DUP deputy leader Paula Bradley will not seek re-election for family reasons

The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will not contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Northern Ireland.

Paula Bradley has told her party that she will not run in the poll in early May.

PA news agency understands she is not leaving the DUP, but is not contesting the election for family reasons.

Ms Bradley, who represents the North Belfast constituency, will continue as the deputy leader of the party until at least the annual general meeting in June.

Democratic Unionist Party Deputy Leader Paula Bradley pictured at Stormont

The popular politician, seen as one of the more liberal voices in the DUP, became deputy leader last year.

She has been a DUP MLA since 2011.

She has confirmed that she is leaving frontline politics to look after her elderly mother.

In an interview with the BBC, she said: “My mum needs me more and I have decided to prioritise her over my political career.”

“She sacrificed so much for me and I feel I need to be there for her.”

Former education minister Peter Weir said he was sorry to see his party colleague depart, but paid tribute to her as a “loving daughter who has taken a tough decision”.

“Really sorry to see Paula Bradley stepping down from the Assembly to become a full time carer for her elderly parents,” the Strangford MLA tweeted.

“A very sad day for the people of North Belfast, the wider community and the party. A loving daughter who has taken a tough decision, I wish her well.”