Departing MLA looks set for council return

Jonathan Craig
Jonathan Craig

Former Lagan Valley DUP MLA Jonathan Craig, who narrowly missed out on retaining his seat at this month’s Assembly elections, has thanked everyone for their support in recent weeks.

But, whilst Mr Craig will no longer be representing Lagan Valley at Stormont, his days in politics may not necessarily be finished as there have been strong suggestions that he may be co-opted back onto Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council to fill the seat vacated by Jenny Palmer.

Mr Craig, who served on the council before his election to the Assembly, confirmed that he had submitted his application for the position, however, he stressed that he would not second guess the decision which will be made by party officers, nor would be wish to influence the selection process.

“I feel I achieved everything I set out to achieve in the Assembly,” said Mr Craig.

“I was very keen to turn around the situation we had in Lagan Valley around social housing. It was a real bugbear of mine.

In the fifteen years I was in politics you couldn’t get a property for anybody. We had been shortchanged and politically discriminated against by Social Development Ministers.

“We managed to get 175 homes in Windermere, 150 in Ballymacash and we are in the process of building over 100 in Seymour Hill. On top of that there have been several other major private purchases,”

Mr Craig also takes pride in the time he spent serving on the Policing Board, when he oversaw the appointment of three Assistant Chief Constables, a Depuity Chief Constable and a Chief Constable,

However he also said that his one regret was that the Education Minister did not announce the new high school in Dromore before the election. “I got to the point of getting the Department to spend £2 million on a site for the school but the Minister backtracked on a personal assurance he gave to me around the announcement of the new build before the election.

“I believe that whoever takes over the Education Ministry will have to rubber stamp the build. I hope and pray that the DUP take Education but that is not in my control.”

Mr Craig concluded by thanking the staff who have worked for him during his years in office.