Alliance Party statement

A spokesperson said: “On Tuesday evening, a democratic decision was taken by the Alliance Council group on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council as to who would be the next Mayor.

“Following the failure of Alderman Rice to secure the support of her colleagues, she and Councillor Kamble proceeded to vote against the Alliance whip in the Council meeting on an important matter, voting with the DUP in relation to control of the panel which will determine capital investment across the council area. Alliance had agreed to support an alternative proposal to ensure no single party had overall control of capital funds, to ensure maximum transparency and accountability.

“As a result, a complaint was received by the Alliance party manager on Wednesday from the Alliance group on the Council, regarding these Councillors’ breach of the Party Code of Conduct. That was acknowledged and was forwarded to Party President, Anna Lo, in line with the party’s constitution and rules, for consideration for disciplinary action.

“Late on Wednesday night, the party was contacted by a journalist who informed us both Councillors had resigned and had made allegations of ageism and racism in the party. Subsequently, resignation letters were received from both Councillors.

“The party takes its commitment to diversity seriously. We reject completely any suggestion it would allow any form of discrimination by, or towards, any of its members or elected representatives, a fact which is evidenced by the diversity of both within it. Discrimination of any kind would not be tolerated within the party.

“We are disappointed another issue which clearly upset our former elected representatives has resulted in their decision to make such allegations.

“At no time did either raise any concern with the party nor have they provided any example to substantiate their current claims. Indeed, only this week Geraldine Rice sought to represent the party as Mayor, while just over a week ago, Vashundhara Kamble sought to represent the party as MLA, which suggests they were far from unhappy with the party.

“The party officers are very familiar with the circumstances around these resignations, and know without any doubt – and have received further assurances from the Council group yesterday – this is about issues of position rather than having any substance.”

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