TUV leader Jim Allister has dismissed speculation that he might call an end to his political career in the wake of last week’s assembly elections.
The outspoken critic of the Stormont administration quipped that he was ‘too young to retire’ when questioned about his party’s disappointing election results.
Despite his party’s share of the vote increasing from 2.5 per cent in the 2011 Stormont election to 3.4 per cent in last week’s poll, this was not translated into more seats - leaving Mr. Allister as the sole TUV man on the hill.
Mr. Allister made no attempt to cover up his disappointment but insisted that his battle against ‘DUP/Sinn Fein misrule’ would continue.
He said: “I have not concealed the fact that I am disappointed but I am gratified with the situation in North Antrim, where our vote rose.
“The people have voted. They may live to regret it — they have voted for the things they complain about.”
Mr Alister personally gained 5,399 first preference votes and was the first candidate to be elected in North Antrim. Last month, he told the News Letter that the TUV’s campaign could not be considered a success unless the party returned more than one MLA.
And that quote was hurled back at him by Mervyn Storey who labelled the TUV as a one-man show.
He said that the unionist electorate had clearly given their overwhelming support to the DUP under Arlene Foster and urged all strands of unionism to consider the need to put aside differences and work in unity to preserve Northern Ireland’s position.
Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay was equally scathing and described the TUV as a “failed project”, noting that Mr Allister would be “himself alone at Stormont”.