Derry DUP man suspended from party

Maurice Devenney.
Maurice Devenney.

Waterside DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney has been suspended from the party according to a report from the BBC.

It is understood that the move is linked to complaints accusing Mr Devenney of canvassing for votes for the SDLP candidate Mark Durkan outside a polling station in the city during the Westminster election in 2015.

The DUP said he had brought the party into “disrepute”.

Mr Devenney, a DUP Councillor on Derry City and Strabane District Council has denied the accusation and has said it was a misunderstanding. He has now got two weeks to appeal his suspension.

In a statement the DUP said that Councillor Devenney had been suspended with “immediate effect”. He has been a councillor for 11 years, is a former Mayor of the city and is one the DUP’s most well known figures in the North West. He replaced William Hay as the unionist MLA in Foyle two years ago. However, he stood down after five months and was replaced by Gary Middleton.

At that time Mr Devenney cited that he wished to return to the Council to concentrate on more localised issues. It is understood the DUP received a number of written complaints from voters who claimed to have been advised by Mr Devenney to vote SDLP. The suspension of Maurice Devenney followed a party investigation into the complaints. It is believed he was informed of his suspension via an email.

As it is the DUP he has been suspended from and not Council, he is still entitled to take up his seat at the Guildhall. However, it has also been reported that he will not be involved in DUP group meetings and will not be able to speak on behalf of the party.