Devenney turns down UUP

Mike Nesbitt and Maurice Devenney in Londonderry on Saturday

Mike Nesbitt and Maurice Devenney in Londonderry on Saturday

Former DUP MLA Maurice Devenney has decided to remain independent and has decided not to join the Ulster Unionists.

Citing disagreement on a “number of issues” over which agreement could not be found, he said he would be continuing his career in politics as an independent unionist.

Maurice Devenney, who resigned from the DUP this week, has been a councillor for 11 years.

Maurice Devenney, who resigned from the DUP this week, has been a councillor for 11 years.

“Further to reports emanating from the media within the past few days, I would like to clarify the situation regarding myself going forward,” he said today.

“I confirm that I did have discussions with the Ulster Unionist Party in terms of joining the party, and I have to say I was well received.

“I respect the party for approaching me in the terms in which they did.

“Over the weekend further discussions ensued, as a result of those discussions there were a number of issues that I felt we could not find agreement on.

“I have now had the opportunity to consult with a number of individuals in the broad Unionist family and, while appreciating the friendly engagement with the UUP, have decided that I will remain as an independent in the local council, going forward.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the officers and members of the Foyle branch of the UUP for their approach and wish them well in the future.

“I have been completely overwhelmed by the support that I have received in the form of phone calls, emails and conversations with many individuals of the Unionist persuasion, right across the Foyle constituency and beyond.

“I am determined to serve the people who elected me and work constructively for the cause of Unionism in the future.

“I will be making no further statements at this stage.”

The chairman of the Foyle UUP Branch, Mr William Jamieson, said he respected Mr Devenney’s decision and wished him well.

“I want to put on record that Maurice Devenney had been approached in the past week and attended a meeting of Foyle UUP, at which he was well and warmly received.

“Arising from that meeting there were a number of issues that Maurice needed to be resolved before he became a fully paid up member.

“Sadly, there was no time to engage in negotiations or reach a meeting of minds on Saturday with the party leader Mike Nesbitt.

“In light of this, an amicable parting of the ways has taken place and we wish Maurice well going forward,” he said.

Mr Jamieson added: “As chairman of the Branch I want to take this opportunity to quash rumours that are circulating that Maurice joined the party as early as June last year.

“This is simply not the case.”