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Kennedy favourite for UUP leadership

Newry and Mourne councillor turned Assemblyman Danny Kennedy is hotly tipped to be the next leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. The former Deputy Leader confirmed in a phone call to the Democrat yesterday (Monday) afternoon his intention to stand. The Bessbrook man is believed to be a favourite among his fellow Ulster Unionists for the post. A source close to the Regional Development Minister told the Democrat: “There is a whole scale agreement that he has the necessary experience and leadership qualities to make a success of the position.” Candidates have until Friday to hand in their nomination papers with the leadership election due on March 31. Mr Kennedy was under pressure back in September to put himself forward for the leadership poll but declined. He is one of the safest UUP seats in Stormont with him being one of the few Ulster Unionist MLAs to out-pole the DUP. Its Newry and Armagh candidate William Irvine secured just over 6,000 votes at the last Assembly elections in May while Mr Kennedy won 8,718 first preference votes in the same constituency. It is however understood that he is in favour of closer cooperation between the two parties.


Newry Democrat

13th March 2012