Steve Aiken has formally taken over as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

The former Royal Navy commander was appointed unopposed as UUP leader at a meeting of the party.

He was the only candidate who put his name forward to replace Robin Swann, who announced he was stepping down as leader in September.

On the issue of Brexit, Mr Aiken said the UUP did not support the prime minister’s deal.

He said he was in favour of remaining in the EU in order to protect the union.

“If the Conservatives deal goes through Northern Ireland will, well and truly, be a ‘place apart’ – we will be separated from our largest market, with differing legal systems, tax regimes, and held ‘accountable’ by special and joint EU committees,”

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