Cllr Graham Craig defects to the DUP

Another man overboard for the UUP as Botanic Councillor, Graham Craig defects to the DUP.  This is particularly bad news in South Belfast where the party lost their only seat to the DUP’s Christopher Stalford.

Craig was formerly a SPAD to Sammy Wilson when he served as Minister for Finance and had some very harsh criticism of his former leader and party in the Belfast Telegraph.

Speaking about her new councillor, Arlene Foster said

I am delighted that Graham has decided to join with us.  Graham has been involved in politics for almost twenty seven years and joined the Young Unionists on the same day as myself.  He will add considerably to our Belfast City Council Democratic Unionist Group and he is most welcome.

Graham knows that the best way for unionism to unite is to do so around the Democratic Unionist Party as we now represent a wide spectrum of unionism.  Today’s decision by Graham to leave the UUP, coming after Cllr Aaron Callan’s decision, is another hammer blow to that party and is further public evidence of the momentum we have gained.  More and more I am encountering Ulster Unionists who are bewildered with where that party is going.

The DUP Belfast City Council Group Leader, Lee Reynolds gives his view about the positives of consolidating Unionism behind the DUP;

 Since the 2014 election results, the disparate nature of Unionist representation in the City Council has hampered Unionism.  Consolidation and growth of the DUP within City Hall will be positive for Unionism and the Council.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • Mike the First

    If he was a SPAD to Sammy Wilson, does that mean he’s DUP-turned-UUP-turned-DUP-again?

    Actually, since he joined the Young Unionists along with Arlene Foster, does that mean he’s UUP-turned-DUP-turned-UUP-again-turned-DUP-again?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Beat me to the punch, he’s broken Ian James Parsley’s unwritten record for party moves. Not sure how many were above him.

    Interesting he was a Remain supporter in the EU referendum though.

  • Lord Budley Magee

    The truth is, he never left the DUP He will not be missed.

  • chrisjones2

    I live in South East Belfast and have never heard of him but am sure he will be a terriffic loss to the party

  • So much for Nesbitt’s “shrinking to grow” plan after McCrea and McCallister’s 2013 exit. The statement suggested that the UUP had a distinct ideological brand of its own without those NI21 types, when in reality the party’s largely a watered-down DUP, but then ideological ambiguity is nothing new to northern politics.

    The 2-seat gain in the 2015 Westminster election fuelled false hope of a UUP rebirth, distracting from the party’s floundering strategy. 4 years into his reign as the presentable PR-savvy communicator, Nesbitt’s UUP garnered its worst ever share of the vote (12.6%) in the 2016 Assembly election, scraping-even on Tom Elliott’s 16 seat total from 2011 – shrinking to shrink.

    The TUV tailors the not-an-inch vote, Alliance is there for the unionist whose father never wore a sash, whilst the DUP has established itself as the vanguard of political unionism. Even the PUP are distinct in their purported leftist unionism. It’s not so easy, however, to identify the UUPs place on the pan-unionist political spectrum.

  • Dan

    Nesbitt is indeed clueless.
    One bandwagon to another, his feeble little buzzwords and phrases, the catastrophic wrong call on Brexit and that dalliance with Eastwood.
    Credibility zero.

  • ted hagan

    As someone cruelly said of David Frost: ‘He rose without trace’

  • Croiteir

    I am now riddled with self doubt, is Colm Eastwood a genius?

  • Record has to be Jim Kirkpatrick UUP > DUP > UUP > DUP > UUP (after flirting with TUV)
    Former East Antrim MLA Roger Hutchison also did UKUP > NIUP > IU > DUP > IU

  • Kevin Breslin

    We’ve got 5 turns people … any advance on that?

    I think I asked this question before.

  • AntrimGael

    As I get older I am increasingly convinced that there is NO such thing as tolerant or moderate Unionism. The weakness and fawning of Sinn Fein and the SDLP towards Unionism just merely encourages and fawns the flames of this bigoted, sectarian, supremacist ideology.

  • A possible…. George Green.

    Elected to North Down local council as Ind Loyalist in 1973, elected to the assembly constituency for Vanguard in 1975, followed most of them into UUUP later that year. Joined up with Kilfedder in the UPUP in 1980. Elected for UUP in 1985, then for Conservatives in 1989. Depends on whether you call the independent loyalist phase a separate one. Labels on the Unionist side in the 1973 locals were very fluid and a lot of Vanguard (and DUP) members just stood under various “loyalist” labels. That’s probably still only five. Brian Wilson also 5: NILP>Alliance>Ind>Green>Ind.