Progressive Unionists to contest three assembly seats

The Progressive Unionist Party is to field three candidates in the March 7 Northern Assembly Election, it was confirmed today.

The Progressive Unionist Party is to field three candidates in the March 7 Northern Assembly Election, it was confirmed today.

The party’s Glaswegian-born deputy leader Andy Park and Elaine Martin were today confirmed as candidates in South Belfast and North Down.

PUP leader Dawn Purvis has already been chosen to defend the party’s only Assembly seat in East Belfast which she inherited last week from her predecessor David Ervine.

Mr Ervine held the seat from 1998 until his sudden death four weeks ago.

Mr Park, who is married with four grown-up children and has been the deputy leader of the party since October last year, said he was deeply honoured to have been chosen to run in South Belfast.

He vowed: “I will endeavour to carry on the vision of our late leader David Ervine.

“I intend to be a voice for the voiceless in South Belfast and bring the issues of this constituency to the fore.”

Mr Park, who was born in Partick in Glasgow, came to the North in 1973 and settled in south Belfast.

He sustained extensive hip and leg injuries in a no warning bomb attack on the Klondyke Bar in Belfast’s Sandy Row on January 30.

The PUP deputy leader has been involved in loyalist politics for 25 years and is a former member of the Ulster Unionist Party and was a chairman of the Ulster Clubs movement in the late 1980s.

He has been a member of the Orange Order in the city’s Sandy Row area for 30 years and has been active in community relations and development work in Lisburn.

Dawn Purvis is the first woman to lead a unionist and loyalist party and is an independent member of the Policing Board.

She served as an MLA for East Belfast for just one day, being sworn in at Stormont on January 30 – the day the Transitional Assembly dissolved.

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