Devenney taking legal advice following DUP suspension

DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney. DER2114MC115
DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney. DER2114MC115

Former Mayor of Derry Maurice Devenney has said he is currently taking legal advice following his suspension from the DUP.

The Waterside Alderman confirmed this morning that the party had suspended him.

In a statement, Mr Devenney said: “I can confirm that I have been suspended from the DUP, but I am unable at the moment to discuss the matter or comment any further other than to say that I am taking legal advice.”

It is reported in the press that the DUP claimed he had brought the party into disrepute and his suspension was linked to complaints about him at last year’s Westminster election, when he was accused of canvassing votes for the SDLP outside a polling station.

Mr Devenney denied the accusation, and said it was a misunderstanding.

It is believed that the complaints against him related to him asking DUP supporters who turned out to vote to give their preference to Mark Durkan of the SDLP. Mr Devenney has a fortnight to appeal the decision to suspend him.

The DUP issued a statement this morning saying Mr Devenney had been suspended with immediate effect.

Mr Devenney has been a councillor in the city since 2005.

He replaced William Hay at Stormont two years ago, but stood down five months later, replaced as an MLA by Gary Middleton.

Although he has never spoken publicly about his time in the Assembly, it is understood that relations between him and the party leaders became strained. It is believed in some quarters that it was this that came to a head at the Westminster vote last year.

It is understood the DUP investigated the written complaints and decided to suspend Mr Devenney from the party.

Mr Devenney was informed of the DUP’s decision by email earlier this week.

Mr Devenney has given no indication today, Thursday, whether he will stand independently or if he will remain in local politics, reiterating that he is “currently taking legal advice.”