A former Ulster Unionist is set to run for Traditional Unionist Voice in next year’s Assembly election.
South Down councillor Harold McKee left the UUP earlier this year over “liberal values” under the leadership of Doug Beattie, stating the importance of his Christian faith to him.
Mr McKee briefly served as an MLA for the UUP in 2016 before losing his seat in 2017 when the number of representatives per constituency was cut from six to five.
On Wednesday the TUV announced that Mr McKee will be their candidate in South Down in the Assembly elections, planned to take place in May.
Mr McKee said he joined the party “a number of weeks ago”.
He said he has found a “clearly growing party whose message is clearly resonating across Northern Ireland and particularly in South Down where Unionism has always had a strong traditional streak”.
TUV announce South Down Assembly candidate https://t.co/tovV1fnRHK
— TUV (@TUVonline) December 22, 2021
“It is also obvious to me that TUV is reaching well beyond what has been the party’s traditional core vote,” he said.
“Since the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol there have been many people who have come to the conclusion that (TUV founder and leader) Jim Allister is the only voice they have in the Assembly.
“He’s been the consistent politician speaking up for ordinary people and I believe there is a real determination in South Down to send someone from this constituency to join him in the battle.
Mr Allister said he was delighted to welcome Mr McKee.
“Like many who have joined TUV in recent months both as members and supporters, Harold shows that our party is growing well beyond its traditional base,” he said.
“When he was an MLA I saw that Harold was a man of strong principles with a heart for the people of South Down. I look forward to seeing him return to the Stormont benches next year.”
Mr Allister is currently the TUV’s only elected representative in the Stormont Assembly.