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Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott resigns amid party tensions

Elliott accused party colleagues of briefing journalists against him and said hostility to his leadership had been “relentless”.

Tom Elliott
Tom Elliott
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

THE LEADER OF the North’s Ulster Unionist Party has dramatically stepped down, claiming that some of his colleagues had sought to undermine his leadership.

Tom Elliott, who had led the party since September 2010, said some people had not given him a “fair opportunity” to develop.

In a statement released last night he said he would not be putting his name forward for the leadership at the party’s AGM on March 31, BBC News reports. Elliott said:

Some of this obstruction and hostility began immediately following my election as leader and has been relentless since then. However, I accept that is part and parcel of politics.

In an interview with Enniskillen news outlet the Impartial Reporter, Elliott accused party colleagues of briefing journalists against him and said elements of the press had campaigned against his leadership.

“There are people who are constantly trying to make life difficult for me by briefing journalists – this is a serious issue,” he said, adding that there were a “small number of individuals who wanted to make life difficult for me”.

Elliott’s leadership has been attended by a number of controversies. While campaigning for the post he faced a backlash after stating that he would not be attending any GAA games or gay pride marches.

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Contenders for the leadership now include NI Assembly minister Danny Kennedy, Mike Nesbitt, John McCallister and former leadership candidate Basil McCrea, according to UTV.

More: UUP leader labels Sinn Féin as ‘scum’>

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Michael Freeman

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