David McNarry says expulsion from Ulster Unionist Party was personal
The Ulster Unionist Party assembly member David McNarry has said the decision to expel him from the party was "personal".
The Strangford MLA, who had been a member of the party since he was 15, was expelled last Tuesday.
The decision was taken by the party following a disciplinary committee investigation into complaints against Mr McNarry
Mr McNarry said he was hurt but would continue as an independent MLA.
Mr McNarry resigned the UUP Stormont whip in January after party leader Tom Elliot demoted him from the deputy chair of the education committee.
He also resigned from the party's assembly group, but remained a party member.
Mr McNarry's 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.
After Mike Nesbitt replaced Mr Elliot as party leader in March 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 Strangford MLA was suspended from the Ulster Unionists for nine months at the end of March.
Mr McNarry was away on holiday so only saw the letter detailing his expulsion when he collected his mail on Monday.
"It from Tom Fleming, chairman of the disciplinary committee," he said.
"Basically it said they had reviewed the complaint against me and they had found that the complaint was upheld and they used the word it was regrettable that I was expelled from the party."
Mr McNarry said it was "not the same party" that he had joined.
"There are many, many differences and I've got to be careful that what I say doesn't come across as sour grapes," he said.
"When I belonged and entered the Ulster Unionist party, it was a broad church party.
"Under this new leadership of Mike Nesbitt it seems that there's no room for unionists with traditional virtues like me.
"I'm hurt about it to be honest, but I'm tough enough because I have a job to do as an elected representative and I'll continue doing that job and this certainly won't prevent me."
He said he believed his expulsion was personal.
"The leader made it quite clear in assuming the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party that there was no room for me," he said.
"I actually represent a decent sized viewpoint in the UUP and therefore if there is no room for me, I think other people might think there is no room for them either."
Mr McNarry said it was his understanding that certain other UUP members were under investigation in disciplinary measures.
In a statement released to the media last Tuesday, the UUP said: "We followed due process and arrived democratically at our decision" (to expel Mr McNarry from the party).