Cllr Mervyn Jones said: “Sinn Féin is getting rid of almost half of their councillors in Belfast. This is a massive vote of no confidence in their current elected representatives at City Hall.
“I also simply cannot believe that the party would bring in someone with absolutely no experience of elected politics to lead their large group at City Hall.
“I have serious concerns that the genuine progress made at Belfast City Council in the last number of years could be put jeopardy by this strategy, as there has been a significant amount of consensus in recent times. I sincerely hope the stability that we have had at the Council is not affected by this move.”