Former DUP mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council Graham Warke quits party ‘for new pathway’

A high-profile DUP figure in Londonderry has quit the party to “move forward with a new political pathway”.

Graham Warke, who has just completed a term as mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, said his decision is the “best for me and for this city and district”.

In a statement on Monday evening, Alderman Warke said: “My year as mayor has really emphasised the need for a new future, one that is based on reconciliation and building bridges.

“My decision to leave the DUP and pursue my political career independently was made in close consultation with the electorate, my family, friends and wider community.”

Alderman Graham Warke will continue as an independent councillor

“I have been talking to people at the grassroots who are supportive of my decision and who believe, like me, that a moderate, progressive and positive political pathway is best for me and for this city and district.”

He added: “I firmly believe that if Derry-Londonderry Strabane is to prosper then it can only do so if we all work together.

“If we are to succeed in bringing prosperity, jobs, and investment here then we need all our politicians to come together to work hard with real determination and courage on all sides.

“I am committed to move this city and district forward into a more progressive and united future – one that embraces the needs of all the people who live and work here.”

He also said he will continue to represent his constituents after taking some time out.

“I will be continuing to represent all of my constituents as an elected representative ... but in the meantime will be taking some time out to spend with family and friends.”

Alderman Warke has been replaced as mayor by Sinn Fein’s Sandra Duffy.