13/05/2021

Robbie Butler Will Not Stand For UUP Leadership

UUP MLA Robbie Butler has confirmed he will not stand for the leadership of the party.

Doug Beattie is the only contender in the running to replace current leader Steve Aiken.

In a statement Mr Butler said: "Whilst I have given thought to the idea of leading the party at some stage, I did not expect to be considering it this week.

"Events late last week have caused me to focus my thinking and aspirations for the future of Northern Ireland and my role within the UUP.

"It has been perhaps one of the greatest pleasures of my life to continue my 20-year public service into the political sphere and it is my intention to continue on that path for the foreseeable future; however at this stage, it will not be as the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
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"I have been overwhelmed by messages from friends, strangers, constituents, business people and many more with encouragement and well wishes. I thank each and every one of you. The validation and encouragement to stand as a candidate has been truly inspiring, and isn’t wasted.

"I am even more convinced and determined that there is more that unites us than divides us, and it is in that same manner that it will be my pleasure to serve under the leadership of Doug Beattie MC MLA if he indeed is elected the new leader of the UUP.

"A top team needs players with different but complementary skills and I am convinced that we have the ability, resource and energy to “cut through” as Northern Ireland charts a way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and looks positively towards its second century.

"Please be assured that my few days considering the leadership of this proud party was serious but personal ambition must always come second to doing what is right for Northern Ireland. Having listened to Doug speak on the media this week and spent some time with him personally, I believe we have a candidate who possesses the skills and attributes that are currently needed."

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