Last month Alderman McCready quit the DUP over concerns about how Arlene Foster had been replaced as leader.
He also cited dissatisfaction with the tight control exercised by DUP HQ over policy.
Last week, in a coup for new UUP leader Doug Beattie, Ald. McCready defected to the DUP’s rivals and brought their representation on Derry & Strabane Council to three for the first time ever.
“For me it doesn’t seem like that much of a change. They are both unionist in their policies,” Ald. McCready told the ‘Journal’. “I made the decision after taking a couple of weeks to speak with the electorate, people on the ground, professionals and farmers, and they want me to stay in politics and to stay in politics as a unionist.”
Ryan McCready quits DUP: Derry & Strabane Alderman brands Arlene Foster treatment ‘disgraceful’The former member of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) said that when he left the DUP he decided it would not be possible to wield leverage or affect change outside a party organisation.
“I didn’t believe staying on as an independent unionist was a long-term sustainable way forward to represent people here. I ruled that out early on. I knew I had a short window to decide whether or not to stay in politics or to leave entirely and I would make that decision based on what the people said.”
Ald. McCready considers himself as coming from the ‘moderate wing’ of the DUP but he remains a unionist with a capital ‘U.’ Thus the choice of a new home was obvious, he said. “I am a unionist. There are no other sublines after that so Alliance would not have been a good fit. I don’t believe they are a unionist party and are going to protect and promote the union whereas the Ulster Unionists and, especially now under Doug Beattie, they are more appealing. People on the ground are looking for a more moderate and progressive kind of politics.
“Even if you look at my tenure in council I was very much seen and sometimes described as the more moderate part of my party locally, voting according to conscience.”
Ryan McCready says UUP decision was not taken lightly and people want him to remain in politicsAld. McCready claimed there was more leeway within the UUP fold for expressing views and voting along lines that would not necessarily be shared or approved of by the party leadership.
“The UUP gives you more of a framework to have those latitudes, to have conscience votes and to challenge policies and change them for the better. I couldn’t do that in the DUP.”
He confirmed that Jeffrey Donaldson was in touch after he left the party but the apparent turmoil within the DUP over the course of two leadership heaves was enough to discourage a return to the fold.
Ryan McCready joins UUP and brings party tally in Derry and Strabane to three councillors for first time“During the last three weeks with Poots in leadership and then the transition of leadership to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson I did watch that with a close eye but the more closely I watched and spoke with people it became more clear that the divergence and divisions within the DUP party internally are their biggest obstacle. They are almost a distraction to themselves. I don’t think the people on the ground like that and want to be part of that. They want to focus on getting things done.”