New SDLP councillor did not inform Greens about plans to leave, party claims

Simon Lee, Lisburn and Castlereagh Councillor (Credit: Lisburn and Castlereagh Council)
Simon Lee announced that he was joining the SDLP on Friday morning. Credit: Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

Northern Ireland's Green Party has claimed that a councillor did not inform them about his decision to join a rival party.

Simon Lee, who represents Castlereagh South, announced that he was joining the SDLP on Friday morning - changed his Twitter bio to reflect the move. He was first elected to the council as a Green Party member during the 2019 local council elections.

Now, the Greens have suggested that they only found out about the news when it was publicly announced.

In a post on Twitter, the party said: "Unfortunately Simon has taken the decision to resign from the party on Wed 3rd August.

"It is unfortunate that Simon has not spoken to the party to date and we now know he has moved to another party."

They added: "The Party wishes to thank Simon for his work and wish him the best for the future."

Earlier on Friday, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood posted on Twitter that he was "delighted" that Mr Lee had joined his party. In a statement issued by the SDLP, Simon Lee said the move had been a "big decision" but that it "feels like the perfect fit".

It all comes after the Green Party lost both of its seats in May's Northern Ireland Assembly election.

They had been held by Claire Bailey (South Belfast) and Rachel Woods (North Down).


Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.