Two DUP members quit party over Edwin Poots concern - ‘the DUP need to realise it is 2021’

Two DUP councillors in south Down have quit the party over concerns about the direction it is taking under new leader Edwin Poots.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 8:25 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:22 am

Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen have both resigned, along with other members in the party’s South Down association.

Mr Hanna told Good Morning Ulster was removed as Association chairman in a constituency meeting on Saturday night.

He added that he feels that “members are not being listened to”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Diane Forsythe

“On Saturday night the south Down meeting was loaded with people I have not seen in many years and they managed by one vote to remove anyone with sympathy for Arlene Foster,” he said.

“The DUP need to realise it is 2021 and that ladies are up there and you cannot treat them in this particular way.”

In a statement, Mrs Owen claimed women and moderates in the party were being left “voiceless”.

Mr Hanna claimed no attempts had been made by Mr Poots to heal divisions after last month’s leadership election.

Kathryn Owen

The Belfast Telegraph reported that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who was defeated by Mr Poots in the recent DUP leadership contest, has expressed support for those who have quit, saying it was highly regrettable that “senior and valued members now feel the DUP is no longer a warm house for them”.

It is understood Mr Hanna and Mrs Owen will remain as independent councillors on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. This means the number of DUP members on the council will fall from three to one.

The DUP resignations follow recent tensions within the South Down association between assembly member Jim Wells - a firm supporter of Edwin Poots - and members who had supported Sir Jeffrey Donaldson for the leadership.

DUP leader Edwin Poots