THE former PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston has joined the UUP.
The party’s newly appointed leader Doug Beattie said her appointment as north Belfast spokeswoman was part of his vision to reach out into loyalist communities.
“Who better to do that than Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston?” he said.
“A woman who lives and breathes her community. I am so delighted that she has joined the UUP and agreed to take on the role of our North Belfast representative. Julie-Anne is tuned into the community’s needs and will offer an authentic voice.
“The Ulster Unionist Party is changing, and for the better.
“Julie-Anne joining the party shows that we are building a team who want to build a union of people and who share a vision for a modern, accepting Northern Ireland. I would appeal to others who share that vision to join us.”ISING
Ms Johnston was elected to the Oldpark ward of Belfast City council in 2014, losing her seat in the 2019 local elections.
One of Northern Ireland’s few openly gay politicians, she formed a civil partnership with long-term partner Kerry in 2014.
In September 2017 the couple welcomed the birth of twins Alexander and Martha.
Julie-Ann Corr-Johnston said she was delighted to join the UUP.
“Quite simply North Belfast needs change,” she said.
“The area continues to rank amongst the worst levels of social deprivation, high levels of our young people are leaving school without employment skills, we need more and better quality social homes and a chilling number of our people are being lost to suicide. I believe that with the UUP I can make a real and lasting difference to North Belfast.
“I identify as a loyalist. Unionism for me is an ideology that can be shared by people from many identities. My politics are about socio-economic equality and equal citizenship.
“For too long we have doffed our caps to those who were better off socially, educationally and financially. But our community is no better for it.
“We have been trapped in a perpetual cycle of fear and division, resulting in every election becoming a constitutional show of strength rather than a mandate for socio-economic change. Change that we so desperately need.
“I think this is a turning point. I see Doug Beattie as someone who is rooted in the community and we share values.
“I believe passionately that Doug Beattie represents a unique opportunity to replace the social ladder with a lift and allow us together to build a truly progressive, pluralist and prosperous Northern Ireland.”