Members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council have been reacting to last week’s decision by Councillors Jenny and John Palmer to join the Ulster Unionist Party.
Mr and Mrs Palmer announced that, after leaving the DUP earlier this year after a major internal disagreement, they had made the decision to join the UUP.
The couple left the DUP and became independent members of the council after the party threatened Mrs Palmer with disciplinary action when she claimed she had been put under pressure by the party to change her position in a key vote on the awarding of Housing Executive contracts.
Mr and Mrs Palmer said they needed time to consider the future following their resignations from the DUP but have now taken the decision to join the rival UUP.
Responding to the decision, Group Leader of the DUP on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Alderman James Tinsley, said: “The decision by Jenny and John Palmer to resign from the DUP and join the Ulster Unionist Party will be a disappointment to those that voted for them because of their DUP candidature.
“However in both areas the DUP will continue to provide excellent representation through our Councillors Scott Carson, Margaret Tolerton, Allan Ewart and Members of Parliament at Westminster and Stormont.
“The DUP team, as the largest political party on Lisburn & Castlreagh Council, will continue to work effectively with all parties for the betterment of everyone in our community.”
Alliance Party Group Leader on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, wished Mr and Mrs Palmer well in their new party.
“Regardless of party label, Jenny and John Palmer have been exceptional public servants and I am certain their move to the Ulster Unionist Party will not change that fact,” said Mr Martin.
“I am glad that Jenny and John will continue to play very active roles both in the Council Chamber and out in the community for many years to come.
“They have been through more than most should ever have to and wish them well in this next chapter.”
TUV Councillor Andrew Girvin praised the couple for their integrity throughout what he says has been a “stressful” situation.
“What Jenny, John and their family have been through in recent times concerning the Red Sky revelations has been extremely stressful for them all,” said Mr Girvin.
“I would like to wish them the best and that integrity and truth shall always be their foundation.”