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David McNarry (born 25 May 1948) is a former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in Northern Ireland. He stood for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in North Down in the 1982 Assembly elections but failed to be elected. He was first elected as an MLA for the UUP in 2003 and subsequently re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011, before parting company with the UUP in 2012 and joining UKIP. He is a former UUP chief whip and education spokesman.

David McNarry
David McNarry.jpg
Leader of the UK Independence Party in Northern Ireland
In office
4 October 2012 – 28 November 2016
LeaderNigel Farage
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Strangford
In office
26 November 2003 – 30 March 2016
Preceded byTom Hamilton
Succeeded byPhilip Smith
Personal details
Born (1948-05-25) 25 May 1948 (age 71)
NationalityBritish[citation needed]
Political partyUKIP (since 2012)
Ulster Unionist (until 2012)

A Northern Ireland Office (NIO) memo released in 2012 described him as "a dangerous nuisance".[1] He is the current Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.[2]


Political careerEdit


In 1973, he stood unsuccessfully as a pro-White Paper Unionist candidate in the election to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and unsuccessfully again, this time for the United Ulster Unionist Council, in the Constitutional Convention election of 1975. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Ulster Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland Assembly election of 1982[3]

McNarry was selected in 2001 to contest the Strangford Westminster seat after the incumbent, John Taylor, announced he would be retiring. Iris Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party was the eventual winner of the seat.[4]

McNarry is a former local councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ards. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he was an adviser to First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble. He stood for the party leadership in 2005 along with Alan McFarland and Lord Reg Empey which Empey went on to win. Following the contest, he was appointed as the UUP education spokesman.[5] He is a former chairman of the Ulster Young Unionist Council.

McNarry resigned from the UUP Assembly group on 27 January 2012 after being sacked by party leader Tom Elliott as the Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.[6] During an investigation by a UUP Disciplinary Committee, McNarry was suspended. The new leader Mike Nesbitt commented publicly that he was unlikely to offer McNarry the UUP whip on completion of the suspension.[7]


McNarry left the UUP and joined UKIP in October 2012,[8][9] becoming UKIP's first MLA and first ever Member of a devolved Assembly in the United Kingdom. In 2013, McNarry was elected unopposed as the UKIP Leader in Northern Ireland. In the May 2014 local government elections, under McNarry's stewardship, UKIP gained two new local councillors in the region, taking the total number of UKIP councillors in Northern Ireland up to four. The party also received 24,584 (3.9%) first preference votes in the 2014 European election in Northern Ireland and although they failed to win a seat, this was a significant electoral performance. At the September 2014 UKIP national conference in Doncaster, McNarry delivered a keynote speech which was warmly received by delegates. He received praise from commentators who referred to the speech as a "statesman-like" address. In the speech, he noted that UKIP was the only UK-wide party to have elected representation in each of the four parts of the UK.[10] Under McNarry's stewardship, councillors from the DUP,[11][12] TUV,[13] and a former UUP Belfast Lord Mayor, Bob Stoker, defected to the party.[14]

In the 2015 United Kingdom general election, UKIP failed to have a candidate elected, but in terms of votes finished as the highest performing of the non-Executive parties in Northern Ireland, receiving 18,324 (2.6%) votes whilst only fielding candidates in ten of the available eighteen seats. Prior to the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election, McNarry announced his intention to retire from front-line politics. He did not seek re-election to his Strangford seat; but he did represent the party as its Spokesman in the media during the election campaign. In the election, UKIP fielded 13 candidates and drew 10,109 (1.5%) votes.

In November 2016, McNarry's term of Office as UKIP Leader in Northern Ireland formally ended when the party elected its new national leader.[15]

McNarry remains a supporter of UKIP - but is no longer actively involved in party politics. He sits as a board member of the Ulster Scots Agency. He is also active as a political commentator in the local media.[16]


  1. ^ "Senior NIO man called McNarry a dangerous nuisance". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Grand Orange Lodge". Archived from the original on 11 December 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  3. ^ Northern Ireland elections
  4. ^ "NORTHERN IRELAND | Orangeman wins candidacy battle". BBC News. 20 March 2001. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  5. ^ "McNarry joins UUP leadership race". BBC News. 7 June 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  6. ^ "David McNarry leaves Ulster Unionist assembly group". BBC News. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. ^ "McNarry return as MLA 'unlikely'". 30 March 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Strangford MLA David McNarry joins UK Independence Party". BBC News. 4 October 2012.
  9. ^ "McNarry set to join UKIP". 4 October 2012. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  10. ^ "UKIP ranks on rise in Northern Ireland, says McNarry". Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  11. ^ correspondent, Martina Purdy BBC News NI political. "John Montgomery, DUP North Down councillor, defects to UKIP". BBC News. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Joe Jordan and Robert Hill join Ukip in Northern Ireland". BBC News. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  13. ^ "UKIP Northern Ireland welcomes Cllr Anderson". UKIP. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Ulster Unionist Bob Stoker defects to UKIP". Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  15. ^ Kilsally (22 November 2015). "#EURef Leave campaigns at the UKIP Northern Ireland conference #UKIPNI15". Slugger O'Toole. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  16. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit