David Jones has resigned from UKiP after former party leader Nigel Farage snubbed him for a DUP function.
The Portadown councillor, who was appointed UKIP spokesperson for NI under the current party leader Gerard Batten in March this year, says he will remain as an independent on Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council.
Cllr Jones said the ‘final straw’ came when he heard ‘third hand’ that Mr Farage was coming to NI to speak at the DUP event.
Mr Farage is the main speaker at an event called ‘Brexit and Beyond’ on May 11 in Ballymena’s Tullyglass Hotel and organised by the DUP’s Ian Paisley, Paul Givan and Sammy Wilson.
In a statement this morning he said: “This is a decision I have not taken lightly but I have been uncomfortable with issues within the Party organisation over the past eighteen months. I have no concern at the DUP inviting who ever they wish to speak to them but I was concerned the former leader neglected to inform the local Party and had previously ignored my request to either visit or comment on the issues of the border.
“I felt this was slight on those members friends and volunteers who had over the years given freely of time and money to the Party. I note with interest that following me raising the issue a hastily arranged photo opportunity has been arranged with Farage and local members earlier on the day of the DUP event.
“As far as sitting now as an Independent Councillor you or I will find no difference. Since being elected under the UKIP banner I received no support or input of any kind from them. I can assure you I will continue to represent Portadown and the ABC Council area to the best of my ability.
“I wish to thank all those who supported me as a member of UKIP and I would hope and trust that support will continue in the future.”
Mr Jones had been elected first to the legacy Craigavon Borough Council in 2000 as an independent. Having retained his seat in the following election, he did not stand in the 2011 election.
Having taken early retirement as a social worker in 2012, David stood under the UKIP banner in 2014.
Mr Jones was the highly vocal spokesman for Orangemen in Portadown during contentious marches along the Garvaghy Road.