Parsley quits politics

FORMER North Down UCUNF candidate Ian Parsley has said that he is leaving politics.

The North Down independent councillor — who defected from Alliance to the Conservatives in 2009 before leaving the Tories last year — said that he would not be fighting May’s council election for “primarily personal” reasons.

He said that moving from North Down to Newtownabbey and his father’s diagnosis with dementia were factors in his decision, as was the need to concentrate on his business during the recession.

“I daresay I would hope to return to it again some time in future,” he said, adding that he believed Holywood’s current three councillors “regardless of party affiliation” had “well served” the area.

Mr Parsley’s partner and fellow former UCUNF candidate Paula Bradshaw left the UUP last year – after failing to be selected in South Belfast – and joined Alliance.