“Today I wish to publicly announce my resignation from the Democratic Unionist Party. The past number of months has been a particularly stressful time for my wife, family and myself and we want closure on this matter. We have come to the conclusion that there is no future for me within the D.U.P. and on that basis we have decided that it is best for me to resign.

I would like to stress that it was with great reluctance that I brought injunction proceedings against the DUP given my longstanding associations with the party. I wanted to ensure that their disciplinary process was fair, lawful and came to a just outcome in keeping with the principles of natural justice. It is unfortunate that this issue remains unresolved. However, given that it is clear I have no future within the DUP, no matter what the outcome is of these proceedings, there is little point in continuing with this action. Accordingly, I have instructed my legal team to apply to withdraw the current injunction.

I would like to make clear that I am continuing to represent the people of Newry and Armagh as an MLA and the Cusher Ward as a councillor on Armagh Council as I have done so right throughout this period. In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to my constituents. My wife and I would both like to thank everyone for all their cards, letters and messages of support over the past number of months.”