Northern Ireland

Mike Nesbitt says 'no' to David McNarry in UUP assembly group

David McNarry
Image caption David McNarry has been suspended from the Ulster Unionist Party

The new Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, has said he cannot see any circumstances under which David McNarry could return to the party's assembly grouping.

The Strangford MLA has been suspended for nine months after he gave an interview to the Belfast Telegraph detailing discussions between the UUP and DUP about unionist unity.

Mr Nesbitt, who was elected UUP leader on Saturday, said he could not see a way back for Mr McNarry.

"David McNarry is suspended from the party," he said.

"I cannot imagine any circumstances under which David McNarry would be back in the Ulster Unionist Assembly group of MLAs when I have control of the whip."

The party wrote to Mr McNarry informing him of the decision last week.

He was due to attend a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday but did not for legal reasons.

Mr McNarry resigned as the UUP Stormont whip in January after party leader Tom Elliot demoted him from the deputy chair of the education committee.

The Strangford MLA also resigned from the party's assembly group, but remains a party member.

His fall-out with Mr Elliot came after Mr McNarry gave an interview to the Belfast Telegraph detailing discussions between the UUP and DUP about unionist unity.

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