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