Northern Ireland

UUP's Chris McGimpsey threatens running mate with legal action

Chris McGimpsey
Image caption Former Ulster Unionist Party councillor Chris McGimpsey (pictured) alleges Ben Manton defamed him on Twitter

A former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councillor in Belfast has threatened legal action against his running mate in the recent council election over a post on Twitter.

BBC News NI has learned Chris McGimpsey is alleging Ben Manton defamed him in a false Twitter post in the days after the election count.

Both men contested the election for the UUP in the Lisnasharragh area.

Mr McGimpsey lost his seat on the last count, and Mr Manton was not elected.

It is understood Mr McGimpsey's solicitor set out his client's case in a letter sent to Mr Manton.

Refused to comment

The post by Mr Manton was in response to an interview by Mr McGimspey, in which he revealed he did not know his fellow UUP candidate.

He said: "I don't know him. He was in the Conservative Party for years and he joined us I think about a year ago so I don't really know the guy, I've spoken to him once I think."

Mr Manton then took to Twitter to "clarify" that he had been a "member of the Ulster Unionist party since January 2017".

He went on to say: "If Chris had actually attended any of our association meetings he would have met me plenty of times."

Both men have refused to comment on the dispute, saying it is now in the hands of their legal representatives.