Sinn Féin MLA for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Gerry McHugh, has resigned from the party although from what I can gather he intends to remain in the Assembly as an independent MLA. I’ll add his own statement on his reasons for resigning when available but, for now, here’s the party’s version of events from Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O’Dowd. Adds From the Irish News [subs req]
“I have been increasingly disillusioned with the totally undemocratic nature of the party and the wholly top-down dictation within it,” Mr McHugh said. “I feel the direction Sinn Féin is taking is more about appeasement of the British government and administrating British rule in Ireland rather than working towards the end of British occupation. Assembly structures support this – at both committee and plenary level unionists have majority control. What was agreed at St Andrews cannot be delivered without unionist approval.”
Update The Assembly biog of Gerry McHugh now notes his Independent status.Also from the Irish News report
“In the new year I will hold a series of public meetings to give people the chance to discuss the issues which are a priority for them and I will be inviting like-minded people to join me,” he said.
“I want to assure the electorate that I will continue to work hard for them both nationally and locally.”
Mr McHugh said Sinn Féin’s decision to endorse policing in the north was a “factor” in his decision.
“I have no difficulties with the idea of civil policing but I have a difficulty with the excessive amounts of MI5 and military spooks operating in the six counties,” he said.
“The fact that the PSNI is being used by MI5 for political policing here should be a major concern for everybody here,” he said.
Mr McHugh said he could use his independent status to further republicanism.
“I think I can bring forward the political republican agenda and fellow republicans as an independent and not be constrained by difficulties we have in the assembly with parties trying to appease each other, he said.