A politician who left the PUP joins the UUP
A POLITICIAN who left the PUP due to differing views over Northern Ireland protocol has joined the UUP.
Belfast-based GP John Kyle left the Progressive Unionist Party in December.
One of the PUP’s most prominent elected representatives, Mr Kyle has served on Belfast City Council since 2007, when he was co-opted following the death of former party leader David Ervine.
It had been reported that he would continue as an independent trade unionist.
However, Mr Kyle announced yesterday that he had joined the UUP.
“I certainly believe these are important days and difficult days and I believe we need a trade unionism that is forward-looking, that is positive, to use David Ervine’s word, that is confident, that is solutions-oriented and is tolerant and inclusive and I think the UUP and Doug Beattie in its leadership epitomize that best,” he told the BBC.
“I think it’s important for Northern Ireland to have a confident, progressive and forward-looking trade unionism and so I want to give it my support.”
Mr Kyle said that, based on Mr Beattie’s “track record over the past year”, he “clearly wanted to strike a more positive and forward-looking note”.
“I think he sought to reach out to people who previously would have voted unionist but had doubts because of events of the last three or four years or more,” he said.
“There’s a whole bunch of civic unionists out there who feel exacerbated by the very negative reactionary politics that have been exhibited by the union parties over the past few years and I think Doug has made it clear that he wants to go from the forward in a way that draws people into the party.
“It also builds bridges with other people in Northern Ireland to create an economically prosperous, socially inclusive Northern Ireland.”