He has been MLA for North Down for 12 years and claims he is leaving the party because he is uncomfortable with the electoral link up with the Conservative Party and that the alliance was detrimental to unionist interests in Northern Ireland.
A bit odd since the interests of unionists is to remain part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Is it not a bonus to have Her Majesty's Official Opposition (at least until 6 May) having a selfish and strategic interest in supporting that union?
I know Alan, and have a great deal of respect for him, but I can not see how he can so suddenly become a New Labour supporter. Throwing his towel in with Sylvia may not be the best thing for him to do. Nor the best thing for protecting the interests of unionists in Northern Ireland.
Labour have resisted giving British and Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland equal status with the rest of the UK. Where is the Labour Party in Northern Ireland elections? Labour Party activists have had to fight tooth and nail to become recognised here. I don't subscribe to the New Labour ideology (mostly selling of the national assets to drive us even deeper into debt), but I do support Labour activists in Northern Ireland gaining equal status with England, Scotland and Wales. I welcome normal national politics seeping into Northern Ireland electoral choices.
At least the Conservatives are providing the electorate here an opportunity to vote in UK wide democratic politics.
I googled Alan and found already a lot of chatter on twitter about him resigning and checked out his website. But it did not tell me a lot. In fact it is not very informative at all. About anything.
I don't believe this is a set back for the Conservatives and Unionists in the long term. If Alan could not 'thole' it then he has every right to make his choice to follow his own 'Sylvia' lining. But it is a very Sylviaesque stunt to try and create as many problems as possible during an election campaign. I fully expect to see Alan out and about working for Sylvia, but it will be interesting to see if North Down follows down that New Labour route.