To date no one has highlighted the significance of the resignation of David McClarty, Deputy Speaker of the N.I. Assembly and a senior member of the UUP.
McClarty was elected to Coleraine Borough Council in 1989, served as Mayor (1993-1995) and has been a member of the Assembly since 1998. His resignation from the party and deselection, some months ago, is therefore significant. Chosen to be Deputy Speaker of the Assembly in 2007,on the restoration of devolution, he clearly held favour within his party. So what happened? He has said that his decision was forced by two or three individuals within the party and he has left with a heavy heart describing it as one of the saddest episodes in his life.
He said that the party had left him rather than him leaving the party.
He is considering standing as an independent or joining another party and is to come to a decision in the next few weeks.
The UUP ran three candidates in 2007 and took 18.5% of the vote. Last May their candidate, Lesley Macauley, took 17.8% of the vote (6,218 votes).
The question is: what effect will he have on the UUP vote in East Londonderry if he stands as an independent or with another party? Is he one of many disgruntled members?