UNIONIST veteran Fred Cobain MBE has joined the DUP, he has announced this afternoon.
The 66-year-old left the Ulster Unionist Party last month and his defection to the DUP was expected.
He was formally welcomed into the party on Monday in Stormont’s Grand Hall by leader Peter Robinson.
It is a further blow to the leadership of Mike Nesbitt who has had to deal with internal disciplinary matters against Stormont members.
David McNarry joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) last year after he was disciplined.
Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea has lost the whip at the Assembly after he made comments in December about the Union flag issue.
Party leader Mike Nesbitt accused Mr McCrea of not being a “team player”.
He is also now facing disciplinary action by the UUP leadership.
If he is expelled, he could join the Alliance Party, however he is keeping his options open.
Following Mr Cobain’s announcement today that he was joined the DUP, the party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds welcomed the move.
“I am absolutely delighted. I think it sends out a very powerful signal to the unionist community.”