Neil Somerville to stand down from the Assembly

The UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Neil Somerville,  is to step down from the Assembly with a replacement chosen next month.

Mr Somerville replaced Tom Elliott just under a year ago.

Speaking about his departure, Tom Elliott said;

I am sorry that Neil is standing down. He has always been very helpful to me and others and it is unfortunate that he is unable to continue as an MLA. He always has the best interests of Fermanagh and South Tyrone at heart and I hope that we will see him play a full role in his local community in the future.


  • Dan

    So, now they get to choose someone else.
    Scandalous state of affairs.

  • Ernekid

    The co-option system does seem to be abused with this revolving door of MLAs. Somerville should at least see out the end of the Assembly term.
    Do they have this problem with the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament or is this just another form of political corruption indigenous to Northern Ireland.

  • Croiteir

    Why is this corrupt?

  • chrisjones2

    Why? Because you tell him to? You dont know why hes doing this, nor do I.

    I assume its a rational reason

  • Gaygael

    I keep suggesting the count back method.

    Neil has been unwell. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

    It seems strange that the UUP are do-opting with such a short time frame before purdah. A new MLA for a month? 6 weeks at most. Hmm…..

  • He’s not been well. It’s not corrupt to stand down if you can’t do the job.

  • chrisjones2

    Ah..I wondered……

  • Sherdy

    We have a lot of MLAs who can’t do the job, but they don’t stand down!

  • AMORR86

    MSPs and AMs are elected via a FPTP constituency election and then each region elects part-list top-up representatives. As such there are two different systems for replacing MSPs or AMs who vacate their seat.
    For those elected by FPTP there is a by-election.
    For those elected by part-list regional top-up the seat is given to the next person on the party-list. Say if a SNP regional MSP retires then the SNP would appoint the next person on the party list.

    Some suggest that co-option would be better replaced by a by-election when an MLA vacates the seats. That could result in some interesting outcomes.

    Take West Belfast for example. If Alex Attwood resigned then a by-election would likely return another SF MLA ruling void all the votes cast through the STV election for SDLP’s candidate as each party would run one candidate for the one position to fill.