DUP 'nastiness' and 'dark corners' not for UUP as party begin search for Steve Aiken successor

The Chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Danny Kennedy, has said the party will select a new leader without invoking what he described as "nastiness" used by the DUP to oust incumbent leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:16 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:18 pm
Steve Aiken, MLA (centre), Robbie Butler, MLA, (left) and Doug Beattie, MLA, (right) pictured in Stormont on Monday morning.

Mr. Kennedy, who lost his seat in the Assembly in 2017, also knocked Sinn Fein for publicly requesting two of its own MLAs in Foyle, Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan, both consider their positions.

“Not for us the nastiness of leadership changes carried out in dark corners like the DUP removing Arlene Foster, who frankly was deserving of better," said Mr. Kennedy.

“Nor indeed replicating what Sinn Fein did in their purge in Foyle.”

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Doug Beattie, MLA.

Mr. Kennedy's comments came only minutes after Steve Aiken, MLA, officially announced his decision to resign as leader of the UUP.

UUP MLA for Upper Bann, Doug Beattie and UUP MLA for Lagan Valley, Robbie Butler, have both been tipped as possible successors.

Mr. Butler refused to comment on the speculation linking him with the leadership of the UUP.

Instead, Mr. Butler used the opportunity to pay tribute to outgoing leader, Mr. Aiken.

Robbie Butler, MLA.

Mr. Beattie said the idea of becoming the new UUP leader would be something he seriously consider.

“I will think about whether it would be right for me to stand. I will take soundings if the party want me to be leader, and if they want to be led by me, and I will make a decision," he said.

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