David McNarry resigns from UUP Assembly Group after Tom Elliott cuts him out of education committee role

The News Letter and UTV’s Ken Reid have been tweeting tonight what looks like being the latest episode in the UUP-DUP united unionist soap opera. David McNarry has resigned from the UUP Assembly group after Tom Elliott withdrew him as vice-chair of education committee, though stopped short of taking away the party whip.

Tweets about David McNarry resigning from UUP Assembly Group

The BBC add:

Mr McNarry said he spoke to the party leader on Friday evening by telephone. And Mr Elliott told him he was being disciplined as a result of an article that appeared in the Belfast Telegraph last Monday.

Although Mr Elliott said he would not be removing the party whip, Mr McNarry in response informed the leader he was resigning with immediate effect from the assembly group.

The article was an interview Mr McNarry gave, in which he revealed that he had been meeting the DUP to discuss closer co-operation and maximising the unionist vote. These talks had previously been secret and the article caused a backlash throughout the assembly group and the party.

Update – Martina Purdy has published some more details about tonight’s events.

Tom Eliott wielding scissors at the opening of David McNarry's Saintfield Advice Centre Opening

Picture of Tom Elliott and David McNarry on a happier occasion – the October opening of the UUP David McNarry Advice Centre in Saintfield.