Apology from Unionist MLA

“I AM personally very concerned about this change over but disappointed to learn from our records that you did not make an effort to vote in the last election”.

This is the written response UUP MLA Sam Gardiner gave to one Upper Bann constituent who sought his help.

The man, who did not wish to be named, had written to the MLA informing him that his job, and dozens of others, was under threat.

Mr Gardiner has since apologised for the gaffe, which he insisted was a mistake.

“I have already written a letter of apology to the constituent,” he said.

“I am very sorry about what has happened. It was due to a mistake and an oversight made in my office and I will, of course, make sure this does not happen again.”

He continued: “Obviously, this is completely out of character for me.

“The public will know from long experience that I am, and have always been, a dedicated servant of this constituency.

“I have always worked hard for my constituents no matter what their background and whether they voted for me or for someone else, for a party other than my own, or, for that matter, not at all.

“There are many people across Upper Bann and across the community divide who can attest to this and who know that I will always relentlessly pursue their case.”

He added: “Once again, I would like to publicly reiterate my apology to the constituent and to assure him, and everyone else, that I will remain as dedicated a public servant as he has always been.

“Service of the public is what drives my political life and that will never change.”