The DUP have welcomed Limavady Councillor Aaron Callan to the party after his resignation from the Ulster Unionist Party which was announced yesterday.
Speaking today Cllr Aaron Callan said,
“I am delighted to announce that I have joined the Democratic Unionist Party and I look forward to working with my new party and colleagues at this very exciting time for unionism and for Northern Ireland.
Some people may be asking why I have decided to leave the Ulster Unionist Party to join the Democratic Unionist Party. I have thought long and hard about this decision. It has become clear over the last twelve months that the DUP is now the mainstream unionist party. I have felt uncomfortable within the UUP, and its leader, for some time now given its drift further from what I believe are Unionist values and principles.
First and foremost my interest is in best representing my constituents and my local area. The reason I stood for election in 2011 and 2014 was my love and passion for my local area of Limavady and the wider East Londonderry area. I have been concerned for some time that East Londonderry was becoming irrelevant to the members of the Ulster Unionist Assembly group. This has disheartened me greatly particularly at a time when so many other rank and file unionists are joining the DUP at grassroots level.
I am firmly of the view that the DUP is taking Northern Ireland forward in a positive way and by joining the DUP team in East Londonderry my constituents interests are best served as part of a strong and united team. Working with Gregory Campbell MP, and three DUP MLAs alongside local councillors more can be achieved for Limavady and East Londonderry in jobs, services, and investment. The DUP, under the leadership of Arlene Foster, is providing a confident vision for Northern Ireland underpinned by a plan that has widespread support.
First and foremost my interest is in best representing my constituents and my local area. I now firmly believe that can be best served as a member of the DUP. I thank those who have supported me in this decision and hope to have continued support in the months and years ahead.”
DUP Leader and First Minister Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA said, “I want to warmly welcome Cllr Aaron Callan to the ranks of the Democratic Unionist Party. He is a talented and enthusiastic public representative who cares deeply about his local area. As a Councillor on the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Aaron will fit in well with our strong team in East Londonderry led by Gregory Campbell MP.
I commend Aaron for making this move at this time and I assure him that he will have a full role to play as we build a stronger Northern Ireland. Aaron’s move is yet another indication that the DUP is now the only unionist party that is capable of commanding support across the Province. Many from an Ulster Unionist background are uniting around the DUP and have already joined with us since the Assembly election and I know Aaron will not be the last.”
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said, “I look forward to working with Aaron and he is very welcome to our East Londonderry team. I know he will enjoy working as part of a team dedicated to Limavady and East Londonderry. The Democratic Unionist Party is long established as the main unionist party in the area as well as across Northern Ireland, this is not about the UUP now not having any elected representation in the Limavady area but it is about building for the future and Aaron’s decision to join with us is further vindication of the stance we are taking.”