‘No prospect’ of Jim Wells joining TUV after deselection in South Down

Jim Wells is unlikely to jump ship to the TUV following Friday night’s DUP South Down selection drama.

By Niall Deeney
Saturday, 29th January 2022, 1:51 am
Updated Saturday, 29th January 2022, 7:37 am

It is understood the veteran DUP figure, who had fallen out with his party leadership to the extent that the whip was withdrawn in 2018, is not thought to have been considering an immediate move to the TUV in any case.

The TUV leader Jim Allister also appeared to rule out any possible move.

He told the News Letter: “I do not see any existing prospect of Jim Wells being a TUV candidate.”

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Jim Wells outside DUP headquarters. Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Asked for his thoughts on the election battles ahead in both the South Down and Lagan Valley constituency, Mr Allister said: “I think within unionism, this is one of the more open elections that we’ve had in a very long time.

“All the polls would indicate that the capacity of the DUP to simply sweep people along with unfulfilled promises is running out of road.

“People are now, increasingly, matching their actions to their words. I think there’s a desire now to vote for strength, not for weakness.”

He continued: “I think in South Down there is probably only one unionist seat and I think it will go to the one unionist candidate who gets their nose in front, as it were.

“We have a very experienced candidate [Harold McKee] who will have both a personal vote and a party vote. I’m looking forward to the South Down vote.

“There will be a Wells factor in this election. There’s bound to be.”

He added: “There’s high stakes. I think it’s quite clear that Edwin Poots has read the room and could see the writing on the wall for himself in Lagan Valley. That’s not a great CV to take into another constituency.”