A surprising announcement from Councillor Guy Spence this evening states that he resigned from the DUP on Friday afternoon and will step back from politics and retire from Belfast City Council at the end of March.
In his own words:
Yesterday afternoon I submitted a letter to the Secretary of teh DUP indicating my resignation from the Party.
For the last year or more I have been wrestling with my conscience watching Party values and integrity be tossed aside often by personal agendas for individual gain. I have lost all confidence in the Party, in particular its integrity, making my position within it untenable.
I have also written to the Chief Executive of Belfast City Council informing her that I will be retiring from Council at the end of this month, when I will be stepping back from politics to pursue a new career. Until then I will be an Independent Member of Council.
My resignation and retirement has been accelerated by recent events involving a blatant attempt to cause me harm. Something I’m not prepared to tolerate.
It has been a privilege to serve the people of Castle District, the place I call home, for the last nine years. I want to thank every single person who supported me throughout my time in Council and everyone I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
Aged 19, Spence was first elected to council in May 2011, becoming Deputy Lord Mayor in 2015.
Back in April 2015 during the election campaign, his car and home were pelted with eggs.
In early 2019, his local party organisation selected former UUP MLA Fred Cobain as the DUP candidate for Castle ahead of the sitting councillor, though the central party subsequently added Spence to the ticket.
Yesterday I resigned from the DUP & at the end of this month I will retire from Belfast City Council.
It has been a privilege to serve the people of my home District of Castle over the last nine years.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout my time in Council! pic.twitter.com/kvrAWRvHjk
— Guy Spence (@GuySpence) March 7, 2020
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about and reports from civic, academic and political events, reviews cultural performances, chairs discussions, and live-tweets, streams and records lectures and conferences. He delivers social media training, coaching and consultancy, produces podcasts, is a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, FactCheckNI board member, and is a member of the Corrymeela Community.