Northern Ireland

UUP leader Robin Swann 'considered resigning' over poll results

Robin Swann Image copyright PA
Image caption Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said he would step aside if the party asks him.

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said he considered resigning after the European election results.

Mr Swann said he would step aside if requested by the UUP to do so.

On Monday, the party lost the seat it had held in the European Parliament since 1979.

The party's candidate, Danny Kennedy, came in sixth position, after UUP support plummeted by more than 30,000 votes from its result in 2014.

Mr Swann has been leader of the Ulster Unionist Party for more than two years.

Asked if he planned to resign, he told BBC News NI: "Last night when I came home, it was a bad result, it was a bad night, it wasn't a good place to be.

"I thought about it and if the opportunity comes up, if the party wants me to go, I've no problem standing aside as leader."

Electoral decline

However, he added that no-one in the party had called for him to resign as leader yet.

"I am the leader of the UUP," he said.

"There's been nobody calling for me to go at this minute in time, so I don't intend on going anywhere at this minute in time."

The Ulster Unionist Party has been facing electoral decline in recent years.

In 2017, it lost six seats in the assembly election, before going on to lose its two MPs at Westminster in the general election several months later.

Earlier this month, the party lost 13 councillors in the local government elections and in particular, polled very poorly in Belfast City Council where it saw its seats drop from seven to just two.

Mr Swann said he takes the position of party leader very seriously, and that the blame for the party's result in the European election lies with no-one but him.

However, he added that the party would reflect on what went wrong and focus on the future.