Beattie backs the UUP decision to quit executive

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

Portadown Ulster Unionist Councillor Doug Beattie has backed the decision by leader Mike Nesbitt to take the party out of the Stormont Executive.

Mr Nesbitt announced on Wednesday that the UUP was withdrawing from the Executive over IRA’s connections to “criminality and murder”.

Mr Beattie said, “What political party anywhere in the United Kingdom is allowed to decide policy on education or agriculture, vote on policies affecting our everyday lives while at the same time retaining direct links to a proscribed organisation such as the IRA.

“As an Ulster Unionist I not only welcome the stance taken by Mike Nesbitt MLA but I fully support it. As the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party he has taken the measured and courageous step to say ‘no more’. No longer can we continue with this sham of an executive while one of its partners continues its links to criminality and murder.

“There are many who will call the Ulster Unionist Party’s decision to leave the executive as political expediency or opportunism, others as a decision too late in coming. I see it as values based leadership - doing what is right for the people of Northern Ireland. To remain in the executive while knowing the IRA exists, is active and continues it links to Sinn Féin would mean losing all credibility.”

He added, “It is now time to form an opposition at the Stormont Assembly to counter the duplicity of DUP and Sinn Féin.”