Beggs backs Nesbitt for UUP leadership battle

Published on Monday 26 March 2012 15:04

LOCAL Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs has given his backing to Mike Nesbitt in the party’s leadership campaign.

The MLA said he was surprised when current leader Tom Elliott decided to relinquish the role ahead of the party’s AGM on March 31.

Mr Beggs was one of four sitting MLAs present at the launch of Mike Nesbitt’s campaign to become leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Other senior east Antrim UUP activists May Steele MBE and Councillor John Stewart were also present at the launch.

Explaining his decision to support Mr Nesbitt, Roy Beggs said: “I and local party members were surprised and disappointed that Tom Elliott decided not to put his name forward to be leader again at the Ulster Unionist Party AGM.

“Tom appeared at our East Antrim AGM in January and is popular among our party members.

“Nevertheless, this presents an opportunity for the party to restate our position and re-establish our relevance with the electorate. “Mike Nesbitt has been a breath of fresh air since he was elected to Stormont.

“I have seen at close hand how able he is as a communicator and public representative. Therefore I was pleased to lend my support at his campaign launch.”

Mr Beggs added: “I detect there is a genuine desire for change within the party and am confident that whoever emerges as leader at the end of the month will reinvigorate Ulster Unionism and provide the public with a real alternative to the current DUP/Sinn Fein cabal at Stormont.”

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