Robbie Butler decides not to run for UUP leader

Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler has decided not to seek the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party,
Robbie Butler MLARobbie Butler MLA
Robbie Butler MLA

In a statement released on Wednesday evening (May 12), Mr Butler said he had decided not to run against Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie for the position.

Mr Butler said: “We have a great Assembly team and if Dough Beattie is to be leader I believe we will be in great shape to help navigate covid and NI politics.”

The Lagan Valley MLA also said he has “given thought to the idea of leading the party at some stage,” but that he hadn’t expected to be doing it this week.

“When I began my political journey, my ambition was to do politics in a different way,” said My Butler. “I hope that people from every background have seen and experienced that, and continue to see the same for as long as I have a role to play.

“My ambition for being involved in politics, and as an Ulster Unionist, is to make my brand of Unionism the most attractive, ambitious and accountable of political identities.

“I truly believe that Northern Ireland is an exceptional place, one that I will always call home and seek to use my influence to make that the case for all the people of Northern Ireland.”

Mr Butler said that when the UUP leader stood down last week it caused a “ripple effect” which forced him to consider his role within the Party.

“Events late last week have caused me to focus my thinking and aspirations for the future of Northern Ireland and my role within the UUP,” he continued.

“It has been perhaps one of the greatest pleasures of my life to continue my 20-year public service into the political shpere and it is my intention to continue in that vane for the foreseeable future, however at this stage it will not be as the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.”