Former DUP stalwart Jim Wells backs TUV candidate in South Down in blow to party
In a dramatic intervention in the Assembly election in South Down, outgoing DUP MLA, Jim Wells, has declared his support for the TUV candidate, Harold McKee.
Explaining his call for No. 1 votes for Harold McKee, Jim Wells said: “As I leave the Assembly it is my earnest desire that South Down should continue to have a Unionist MLA whose politics are grounded in conviction and principle.
“Among the candidates Harold McKee is the stand out candidate with these credentials. He holds dear many of the core principles that I upheld in Stormont and is widely and properly respected as a politician of conviction, not expediency.
“Accordingly, I recommend him to those who faithfully supported me at the polls over the years and urge them to vote McKee 1.”
Responding, Harold McKee said he was delighted and honoured to have Jim Wells’ support.
“Jim has set a high standard for representation in South Down. His decades of faithful service secure his honourable place in the history of this constituency. In the end he was abandoned by his own party but it is the mark of the man that he wishes the best for South Down going forward.
“I am delighted to have his support and gratified that a broad swathe of unionism is uniting behind me as the standard bearer of principled unionism.”
TUV leader, Jim Allister, joined in welcoming Jim Wells’ support.
“At critical times in Stormont Jim Wells was often the only MLA prepared to join me in doing what was right. In December 2020 we were the only MLAs to speak and vote against 45 EU regulations essential to bedding in the iniquitous Protocol. Putting party advantage before principle would have been easy, but Jim did the right thing and likewise today in backing Harold he is putting principle before party. “In strengthening Harold McKee’s hand he is laying the foundation for the continuance in Stormont of South Down representation based on conviction politics. We’ve seen enough of synthetic unionism; it’s good to offer the real thing with Jim Wells’ backing.”