UUP Party Conference October 2001 – Flickr – Alan in Belfast BY AISLING GALLAGHER Former Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Ken Maginnis has left the Ulster Unionist Party. Maginnis recently made headlines with his comments on homosexuality, describing it as “unnatural and deviant”. The peer lost the party whip in Westminster in June due to his comments on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan
Show. Describing the election of Mike Nesbitt as party leader “a mistake”, Maginnis fell out with Nesbitt when he failed to follow Nesbitt’s instructions in regards to contacting the UUP Press Office before discussing the somewhat controversial topic of gay marriage publically. Nesbitt expressed regret at Maginnis’ decision to depart, and said that he had personally been hoping for a different outcome. The UUP has also made headlines recently when Jackie Crawford, a UUP councillor, compared homosexuality to a “disease” at a meeting of Magherafelt District Council earlier in August, likening it to being born with a disability. He soon apologised, telling the Belfast Telegraph that he opposed gay marriage, but claimed the use of “disease” was “a slip of the tongue”. As the UUP appears to slowly disintegrate before our eyes, what exactly does Mike Nesbitt propose to do to keep the once popular party from falling apart completely?