Veteran Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers disciplined over election leaflet

A veteran Ulster Unionist has been disciplined for an election leaflet that attacked the Alliance Party.

Jim Rodgers, a former Belfast lord mayor, has had the party whip removed and been referred to the UUP’s disciplinary committee.

The controversial leaflet in east Belfast claimed the Alliance Party was “closely aligned” with the “IRA’s political wing”.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann (Press Eye/PA)
Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann (Press Eye/PA)

It has been portrayed as a damaging own goal by fellow UUP representatives, who have part-blamed their failure to get elected on the leaflet.

The UUP suffered a series of losses in Belfast City Council while the Alliance Party saw its vote surge.

Party leader Robin Swann announced the disciplinary action against Mr Rodgers on Monday evening.

“When the leaflet was first brought to my attention I said it was language that we would not use, it’s language that I would not use and it didn’t help the overall interests of the Ulster Unionist Party,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Mr Swann said he had spoken to Alliance Party leader Naomi Long on the issue.

“I made my feelings clear to her,” he said.