Stormont gained a fresh MLA last night, as the UUP revealed its replacement for one of the party’s outgoing Assemblymen.
Alastair Patterson will replace Neil Somerville as the Ulster Unionst MLA in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, following a decision by the UUP late last night.
Mr Patterson, a quantity surveyor from Castlederg, 43, has never held office before.
However, he did stand unsuccessfully for the party as an MLA in West Tyrone in 1998 (winning 2,615 votes).
He is married to Olga Walls, the chairwoman of Hospitality Ulster.
Mr Somerville became an MLA at the end of June, replacing Tom Elliott (who had just been elected to the House of Commons), but earlier this month it was announced that he was to stand aside due to stress.
The News Letter was unable to reach Mr Patterson directly last night, but the party issued a statement in which he said: “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen to represent the constituency in the Assembly.
“I would firstly like to thank the members of Fermanagh and South Tyrone for coming out in such significant numbers and putting their trust in me, it means a lot to know I have their support.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Tom and Neil who have served the constituency admirably and to Councillor Rosemary Barton who will be my running mate in May.”
Tom Elliott MP also said in a statement: “I have known him for many years and believe his abilities and commitment will make him an excellent MLA for the next few months, and I trust in the next Assembly after the May elections.”