Independent Unionist Maurice Devenney has made a surprise return to the DUP fold and is set to run in the Sperrin District Electoral Area (DEA) in the local government elections in May.
The party in North Tyrone announced the move on its social media channels.
Alderman Devenney will rejoin the party and switch constituency from the Faughan DEA. He will run alongside one of the DUP’s longest serving councillors, Allan Bresland, who has served for over 25 years.
The party stated: “The DUP have selected the following candidates to contest the Derg and Sperrin areas for the forthcoming Council elections. Sperrin - Sitting Councillor Allan Bresland will be joined by Councillor Maurice Devenney who has rejoined the party in North Tyrone. Derg - Sitting Councillor Thomas Kerrigan will be joined by first time candidate Keith Kerrigan to contest the Derg DEA.”
Ald. Devenney, who was first elected to the old Derry City Council in 2005, successfully contested the inaugural elections to Derry City & Strabane District Council for the DUP alongside Gary Middleton in Faughan in 2014.
He was co-opted to replace William Hay as Foyle MLA at Stormont later that year but was in turn replaced by Mr. Middleton in 2015.
He resigned from the DUP in February 2016 after being suspended following claims he had canvassed for the former SDLP MP Mark Durkan in the Westminster elections in 2015.
He refuted the claim and, at the time, said: “It is clear to me and my advisers that the party has moved away from the democratic principles espoused by the late Dr. Ian Paisley.”
He considered joining the UUP but from 2016 served as an Independent Unionist.