Former Craigavon council member David Jones is re-entering the political arena – as a candidate for the Nigel Farage-led UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) in the forthcoming local government elections.
Mr Jones, who served as an Independent for the Portadown ward from 2001 until 2011, has confirmed that his name will be on the polling cards at the May election for the new ABC (Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon) supercouncil.
He added that “probably four” members of the new Upper Bann Branch of UKIP will be fighting for places on the council. It will be a “shadow” administration for a year following the election, and will take up the full reins of power when the current councils are stood down in May 2015 – Armagh City Council, Banbridge District Council and Craigavon Borough Council.
Said Mr Jones, “I didn’t wear a party label during my 10 years at Craigavon. Politics in Northern Ireland are simply a sectarian head count. UKIP are a nationwide UK party – gaining support all the time – and I want Northern Ireland to enter the real world of politics, rather than the narrow parties with narrow policies in the province.”
He added that UKIP were on the march in GB following their second place in the Wyntheshawe and Sale East by-election where they were only behind Labour and pushed the Conservatives into third place – a five-fold increase from the last General Election.
Said Mr Jones, “At least there will be a flavour of right-left politics in the ABC election, and Nigel Farage will be across to help us in our canvass.
“It was a lonely furrow for me as an Independent in my two Craigavon sessions and I will have the impetus of an established political party behind me this time.”
He confirmed that around four names will be announced at the beginning of March, and the campaign proper would start then.
Mr Jones is secretary of the Portadown No 1 Orange District and a campaigner for the Drumcree parade issue to be settled.
He received a strong first preference vote of 971 in 2001 and easily made the 1,207 quota. His first preferences fell to 419 in 2005, but again transfers saw him past the 984 quota. He stood down in 2011 due to pressure of work.