A DUP councillor has slammed his party’s decision to select a man convicted of drink-driving as a candidate in May’s local government elections.
Former mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Thomas Hogg was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £250 after he was stopped by police on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast in April last year.
He was later suspended from his role as councillor over the offence for a period of five months, and went on to apologise for his actions, stating: “I am deeply sorry for my behaviour. My conduct let down my constituents and party.”
However, fellow DUP Councillor Tom Smith has expressed his “disgust” at the party’s decision to select Mr Hogg as a candidate for the Macedon ward at the election in May,
The North Down and Ards representative took to Twitter to state: “He is a convicted drunk driver currently suspended from being a councillor. I know many in the party feel the same but will they speak out? They should!”
The News Letter contacted Mr Hogg for comment, but he directed us to a statement issued by the DUP yesterday and said he had nothing further to add.
A DUP spokesman said: “Cllr Hogg has previously accepted his suspension and apologised for his behaviour. He has been selected by party members and we don’t intend giving a running commentary on our selection processes”.
Former DUP special adviser Timothy Cairns supported Mr Smith’s remarks, tweeting: “The economy of value in the DUP is an odd one to be sure. It all depends on who is backing you, rather than what you can offer or what your past is. No other political party acts in this way. Well done for speaking out.”
Mr Smith replied: “Thanks Tim - I publicly supported his suspension last May - not sure anyone else did”.
“But this is a terrible crime - so many innocent lives lost and yet so many of those who like to walk about with their religious and moral masks on - have nothing to say on this!”