McCusker stands aside as UUP field three candidates

Kyle Savage, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Ulster Unionist Leader - Mike Nesbitt MLA, Councillor Doug Beattie MC.
Kyle Savage, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Ulster Unionist Leader - Mike Nesbitt MLA, Councillor Doug Beattie MC.

The Ulster Unionist Party will run three candidates in the upcoming Assembly election - but not the three originally thought.

The party has selected Councillor Doug Beattie and sitting MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, as widely expected, but the withdrawal of Colin McCusker from the race saw the selection Kyle Savage as their third candidate.

Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, said: “The Ulster Unionist Party has an embarrassment of riches in Upper Bann and I am only sorry we could not run five candidates, because we have at least that number of politicians capable of offering excellent representation during the next Assembly mandate.

“I also want to say how supportive I am of Colin McCusker’s decision not to stand on this occasion, concentrating instead on his role as the Party’s General Manager.

“We have come on massively as an organisation in recent years, to the point where we can expect to mount our most professional electoral campaign of modern times this May. Clearly, if Colin had stood, he would not have been able to devote the time that is required to the Election.”

Councillor Doug Beattie MC said: “After a long military career it was my desire to serve my community that first led me to stand for my local authority.

“It is that same desire that now leads me to stand for the Northern Ireland Assembly.”

Jo-Anne Dobson MLA said: “It is always a privilege to serve the people of the constituency in which I was born, brought up and live and I once again thank those who continually put their trust in me to deliver for them, whatever the issue.”

Kyle Savage said: “I consider it a huge honour to have been selected. I thoroughly enjoyed my spell as a Lurgan Councillor on the former Craigavon Council before it was dissolved. In Upper Bann, the Savage name is synonymous with community service, and I know my late Father, George, would be thrilled that I was following in his footsteps and putting my name before the people in seeking to become an MLA.”