DUP and TUV agree to by-pass electorate

According to the BBC report, there will not be a by-election in Ballymoney to replace outgoing DUP member Roy Wilson. And, apparently, a TUV councillor, Mark Russell, is to step down in Craigavon. Although there doesn’t seem to be same animosity involved as with former TUV Cllr Charlie Tosh. From the BBC report

Instead councillors accepted a proposal by the DUP to co-opt Robert Halliday into the seat. The decision follows a week of talks between the two parties. The deal between the two parties also means that the DUP will not seek a by- election in Craigavon, where TUV councillor Mark Russell is to resign. The UUP has also been involved in discussions with the TUV in Craigavon.

Update Mark Devenport notes that the plan may yet go awry..

According to SF Councillor Mairead O’Dowd “The facts of the matter are that Sinn Féin has been seeking to co-opt a replacement for Councillor John O’Dowd MLA for a considerable time in line with our policy of ending dual mandates between the Council and the Assembly. Throughout that time we have been reliably informed that the only Councillor who would object to such a co-option would be Mark Russell and that he would force a by-election in such circumstances at a cost of £25,000 to the ratepayer. The same Mark Russell now tells us that he will himself be co-opted off the Council because the DUP and the TUV have a cosy deal which, quite frankly, is worthless.”

Sinn Fein wants any arrangement to include them, but the TUV has responded that if republicans force a by-election in Craigavon “we’ll happily fight and beat them”. the TUV says it won’t seek or give any favours to Sinn Fein.

So potentially the TUV could find its deal drops apart and the ratepayers are still stung for £25,000.