THE man who started the Union flag protest on social media network sites has quit the group he helped found.
Jonny Harvey has resigned as leader of the Ulster Protestant Voice (UPV) and has joined the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).
The 32-year-old former RAF pilot has admitted that he had not expected trouble to break out following the vote on December 3 by Belfast City Council to only fly the Union flag on the City Hall on 17 designated days.
The plan of the UPV was to organise peaceful street protests across the province to show their opposition to the council decision.
However, unsavoury elements latched onto the street protests, attacking police and property with missiles and petrol bombs.
Harvey is being groomed to stand in east Belfast as a PUP candidate for elections.
On Monday, Mr Harvery used social media networks to muster more support for the street protests despite calls from political leaders to bring them to an end.
Hours earlier the 32-year-old admitted to UTV Live that he had “lost control” of the protests.
However, Mr Harvery later went on Facebook to address his group calling for more people to be deployed onto the streets.
On Thursday, he said about his decision to join the PUP: “This has not been an easy decision, but circumstances have dictated that I must make this move sooner, rather than later.
“It has been an absolute privilege to represent this group over the past number of months.
“Although I’m leaving the committee, I would like to remain as a member of the group and will of course always be on hand to help in any way I can.”
The UPV committee, which numbers up to 14, will make a decison in the coming days on who to appoint as its leader and the public face of its movement.