30/06/2006

DUP MLA quits environmental team

DUP MLA Jim Wells has resigned from the party's environmental team, it has today emerged.

The South Down MLA decided to step down from his position as one of the party's spokesmen on environmental issues, after it became clear that his views no longer coincided with the opinions of his party members.

It has been reported that Mr Wells, a former RSPB and National Trust employee, was offended by comments made by colleagues, however Mr Wells has passed the row off as nothing but "a storm in a teacup."

The disagreement is thought to be over planning policy in rural areas.

Despite his resignation, Mr Wells has said that he will remain as a member of the DUP.

Speaking earlier, Mr Wells said: "I have told colleagues I will never comment again on behalf of the party on environmental matters and planning.

"However I haven't quit the party. In fact I'm happy with all other aspects of party policy."

The DUP has refused to make any comment on Mr Wells' decision.

(EF/SP)

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