Mike Nesbitt tips Doug Beattie to be next leader of UUP - Robbie Butler still to declare if he will stand

Former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has tipped his party colleague Doug Beattie to be the next leader of the UUP.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 10:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 1:20 pm

Mr Nesbitt made the prediction after being pressed on the issue on the Stephen Nolan Show this morning.

The presenter asked the MLA to say who he was backing in the leadership race, triggered after Steve Aiken announced he was standing down.

But Mr Nesbitt repeatedly refused to back either candidate, saying that it was like being asked to “choose your favourite brother”.

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UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt during a press conference at Stormont to give reaction to the finding the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has not recommended prosecution for anyone concerned in relation to the funeral of prominent Irish Republican Bobby Storey in west Belfast on 30 June 2020. The funeral attracted 2,000 mourners at a time when only 30 people were permitted at public gatherings. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 30 2021. See PA story ULSTER Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

But eventually he conceded that he thought Doug Beattie will be the next leader, whether or not Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler decides to stand.

He also said he thought Mr Butler and Mr Nesbitt will run as a “joint ticket”.

Mr Butler has not yet declared whether he will stand.

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