23/01/2007

Dawn Purvis chosen as PUP leader

The Progressive Unionist Party has chosen its new leader.

Dawn Purvis, a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, was chosen to replace former party leader David Ervine, 53, who died suddenly on January 8.

The decision was made during a meeting of the party executive in Belfast last night.

Ms Purvis is the first woman ever to front either a unionist or loyalist party.

She will also defend Mr Ervine's seat in the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election.

Dr John Kyle is to take the place of the late PUP leader in Belfast City Council.

Commenting on her new post, Ms Purvis said: "I am deeply honoured to have been made the leader of the PUP.

"However this is also tinged with sadness given the huge loss of David.

"It is a huge challenge to step into this role, especially after the good work he did.

"But this gives us an opportunity to rebuild and continue to serve working class loyalists and unionist communities."

Former PUP leader David Ervine died two weeks ago after suffering a heart attack, stroke and brain haemorrhage.

(EF)

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