Doug Beattie is new leader of Ulster Unionist Party
Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie has become the new Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
Mr Beattie became party leader today (Monday) just weeks after Stephen Aiken stepped down.
He was unopposed as the only candidate standing for the post and will be formally ratified as leader at the end of this month at the UUP party conference.
Upper Bann MP David Trimble, who won the Nobel Peace Prize with SDLP Leader John Hume for his work on the peace process in NI, previously held the post.
Speaking at Stormont, Mr Beattie said: “Today, I take over as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party A historic party, a party of Carson and Craig. But a party which is looking to the future, a party that is modernising, a party that is trying to create a Union of people not just to protect the Union, but to promote the Union so that people want to live in this part of the United Kingdom.
“I feel the weight of expectation heavy, but I’m up for that challenge.
“I am out to reach out to everybody here in Northern Ireland and who wants to live here, who wants to share this part of the United Kingdom. And I want to say to them, join us in the Ulster Unionist Party. Tell us what you want, give us your vision and we will turn that into a reality.
“It’s very important for me to look back and think of all those people who came before me, how they shaped our society and we cannot throw that away.
“We cannot turn the clocks back. We cannot change, but we can move forward and that is where I will be taking the Ulster Unionist Party.”
Mr Beattie, a retired army captain, was tipped as a leader of the party since he first entered the political arena in 2014.
Regarded as a moderate, progressive figure, he wants the party to be more youthful and to have more women as well as those from racial minorities.
Mr Beattie has promised that he will ‘not be undermining anybody’s faith’ as leader.
He has also been vocal in his support for those in the LGBTQ community and has opposed ‘conversion therapy’
Mr Beattie comes from a military family. His father was in the Royal Ulster Rifles. Doug was ‘born in barracks’ but moved to Portadown when his father retired from the military.
Initially Mr Beattie spent two years as a councillor on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council before being elected as an MLA for Upper Bann in 2016.
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