UUP leader Robin Swann ‘not under pressure to quit’

Robin Swann said he had no problem standing aside as UUP leader if that was what the party wanted
Robin Swann said he had no problem standing aside as UUP leader if that was what the party wanted
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Former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has said he is “not aware of any pressure” on current leader Robin Swann to resign following disappointing election results for the party in recent weeks.

Speaking to the News Letter following a meeting of the UUP’s ruling executive at the weekend, Mr Elliott said his party accepts the “significant issues” that need to be addressed following the disappointing results for the party at both the local council and the European elections last month.

But, he said, there was “no discussion” of Mr Swann’s position as party leader during the executive meeting on Saturday.

The UUP candidate for the European Parliament elections, former regional development minister Danny Kennedy, failed to the retain the European seat held by party stalwart Jim Nicholson for three decades.

Mr Kennedy polled 53,052 votes (9.2%) compared to Mr Nicholson’s total of 83,438 (13.3%) in the last election in 2014.

Mr Swann had said he considered resigning following the collapse in the party’s vote on May 23.

“It was a bad result, it was a bad night, it wasn’t a good place to be,” he said.

“I thought about it and if the opportunity comes up, if the party wants me to go, I’ve no problem standing aside as leader,” he said.

Speaking to the News Letter following the executive meeting, Mr Elliott, the former Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP, said: “There’s not a huge amount to report – we had a positive meeting.

“We accept that there are significant issues that need to be addressed. There is an intention, a specific intention, to address them but I can’t say much more than that at present.”

Asked about Robin Swann’s position, he added: “There was no discussion on that at all, no.

“And I’m not aware of anyone having approached Robin. I’m not aware of any pressure.”