Thursday, 4 October 2012

Former Ulster Unionist Becomes First UKIP MLA

The BBC reports that David McNarry, MLA for Strangford, has joined UKIP to become the party's first ever member of the Northern Irish Assembly.

McNarry was first elected in Strangford for the UUP in 2003, then re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011.  He was expelled from the party in May of this year following internal party complaints, and had been sitting as an independent since that time.  His choice to join UKIP comes as the party continues to poll well across the UK, regularly matching the polling results for the Liberal Democrats.

UKIP have generally been a minor force in Northern Irish politics in the past.  They contested six Assembly constituencies in 2011, but failed to win any seats.  They did however gain a seat on Newry and Mourne District Council.  The party often polls significantly better in European elections than in any other contests, though they did not contest the Northern Irish constituency in the last European elections in 2009.

The political composition of the Assembly now stands as follows:

Northern Irish Assembly
Democratic Unionist38-
Sinn Féin29-
Ulster Unionist15-
Social Democratic and Labour14-
Alliance8-
Green1-
Independent1-1
Traditional Unionist Voice1-
UKIP1+1