DUP: Former MLA Maurice Devenney resigns from party
Democratic Unionist Party councillor and former assembly member Maurice Devenney has resigned from the party.
Last week, the BBC reported that the DUP had suspended Mr Devenney, claiming he had brought the party into "disrepute".
His suspension was understood to be linked to accusations that he had canvassed for votes for the SDLP.
In a statement, a party spokesperson said Mr Devenney "left the assembly by his choice".
It is understood the complaints against him involved accusations that he asked DUP supporters to give their votes to the SDLP's Mark Durkan while canvassing outside a polling station during last year's Westminster election.
Mr Devenney was one of the DUP's highest profile politicians in Londonderry.
He has been a councillor in the city for 11 years and is a former mayor.
He replaced William Hay in the assembly two years ago.
Five months later, he stood down and was replaced by Gary Middleton.
Mr Devenney denied the accusation and said it was a misunderstanding. He said he was "despondent" at the allegations. He is to stay in Derry City and Strabane District Council as an independent.
In a statement on Tuesday evening to the Londonderry Sentinel, he said he decided to resign after "much reflection and consideration" and said he would not be appealing the DUP's decision to suspend him.
"I have absolutely no intention whatsoever in making an appeal, when it is completely clear that there is likely to be a pre-determined outcome resulting in my membership being terminated," he said.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell told BBC Radio Foyle he felt "sadness that Maurice Devenney has taken the action that he has".
"He has been a colleague and friend for some considerable time"
He added that Mr Devenney "needed to be suspended because of a number of issues" but said he wished him "all the best".
In a statement, a party spokesperson said Mr Devenney "left the assembly by his choice" and added there were "winners and losers" in selection contests.
"Given the fact Mr Devenney chose to leave the assembly and concentrate on local issues, the widespread view of many party members was that he would not have been a suitable candidate.
"Unionists in the Foyle constituency know there is one unionist seat in the constituency and they are now well served by Gary Middleton MLA, a man whom Maurice Devenney recommended to replace him," the DUP statement added.