Alliance ‘astonished’ by move to DUP

Published Thursday, 20 December 2012
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The Alliance Party said it is "astonished" by former councillor Adam Harbinson's decision to join the DUP.

Alliance ‘astonished’ by move to DUP
Mr Harbinson and First Minister Peter Robinson. (© DUP)

Mr Harbinson quit Alliance earlier this year over its stance on gay marriage, eight months after being co-opted onto North Down council to replace Tony Hill, who passed away.

He attended the DUP's annual conference last month and on Thursday announced his decision to join the party.

Mr Harbinson said: "I believe the views of the Alliance Party on such issues are increasingly out of touch with the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.

"Within North Down I have valued the friendship and working relationship with DUP Councillors and I was delighted with the warm welcome I was given as a guest at the recent party conference. I believe that the DUP provides a strong and united voice that can deliver not just for North Down, but for Northern Ireland as a whole."

Alliance group leader for North Down, Andrew Muir, said he's "astonished" by the move.

Mr Muir said: "I am astonished that Adam has decided to join the DUP. After recent events any move from the Alliance Party to the DUP is simply not credible.

"Whilst Alliance has remained steadfast in support of a shared future the DUP have whipped up tensions bringing us back to the old divisive politics of the past.

"Adam now has no moral authority to continue as a Councillor. Any integrity he had left has been destroyed by taking the seat of a long standing Alliance activist and handing it to the DUP."

Meanwhile the DUP leader has welcomed Mr Harbinson to the party.

Peter Robinson said: "I am delighted that Adam has taken the decision to join the DUP having recently attended our annual party conference. Adam has made his views known about the difficulties he had with Alliance policy and that he could not remain a member.

"I can assure him that he will find a warm welcome in the DUP."

© UTV News
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10 Comments
Ady in Tyrone wrote (619 days ago):
Does anyone really think that Mr.Harbinsons political " ideals" matter one iota ? The man is obviously considering where his next pay-packet is coming from !!!
Frosty in Here wrote (619 days ago):
Mr Harbinson said: "I believe the views of the Alliance Party on such issues are increasingly out of touch with the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland." In other words, Northern Ireland has always been and will always be homophobic. No doubt Mr Harbinson is sitting down to tea with Mr & Mrs Robinson to discuss abominations in a very civilised and bigotted manner.
David in Enniskilling wrote (620 days ago):
Why would Alliance be astonished? Tthey are now viewed as a "nationalist" party, (small "n"), so anyone with an ouce of Unionist belief in them could possibly no longer be a member of such a party! Well done mr Harbinson - the start of mnay more to come...?
Paul in Craigavon wrote (620 days ago):
What amazing timing! The DUP must have had that card up their sleeve for a while. Pity nobody cares....
Patricia Mallon in Belfast wrote (620 days ago):
Whilst I can understand that someone can have a change of heart, I find it difficult to understand how someone can move from the cross community culture of one party to another where they talk in terms of " the unionist family". But maybe then he has not thought beyond the same sex marriage policy?
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