Northern Ireland

Adrian McQuillan: 'I won't be forced out', says DUP councillor

Adrian McQuillan
Image caption Mr McQuillan, who was elected in May, is a former MLA and sat on the Assembly until 2017, when he lost his seat

A suspended DUP councillor has said he will "not be forced out of the party".

Adrian McQuillan, who sits on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, has been suspended by the DUP for six months.

The move, revealed by the Belfast Telegraph, is linked to the use of election material during last month's local government poll.

Mr McQuillan, who was elected in May, is a former MLA and sat in the Assembly until 2017, when he lost his seat.

'Disappointed'

Speaking to the BBC on Friday, he said he was "totally disappointed to be suspended".

He added that he was "particularly disappointed at the length of the suspension".

The veteran DUP man said he believed the issue "can be resolved" and revealed that he had put the matter and length of his suspension in "the hands of [his] solicitors".

Asked about whether he would remain in the DUP or sit as an independent councillor, he said any decision on party membership "has yet to be decided".

He told the BBC: "It will be my decision and I will not be pushed or forced out".

'Person makes a party'

The move by the party hierarchy is linked to the use of election material during the local elections, including the way in which posters were used and the areas in which material was distributed.

Earlier on Friday, Mr McQuillan told the Belfast Telegraph: "All I can say is I will continue to work for all my constituents, everyone who voted for me and all those who didn't. Anyone who comes to me for help, I will do all I can to help them. One party doesn't make a person - a person makes a party."

A party spokesman told the BBC: "We do not comment on internal matters."