William Bleakes
William Bleakes was a Unionist and Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 councillor and Assembly member in the Lisburn
DemographicsLisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area and is classified as a Large Town by the . On census day there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn...


Bleakes was first elected to Lisburn Borough Council in 1977 as a United Ulster Unionist Party
United Ulster Unionist Party
The United Ulster Unionist Party was a unionist political party which existed in Northern Ireland between 1975 and 1984.It emerged from a division in the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party in the late 1970s...

 (UUUP) councillor for 'Area B' (equivalent to the current 'Downshire' electoral area.) With the UUUP in decline, he switched to the Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 (UUP) and was returned to Lisburn Council in 1981 for that party. In 1982 he contested the North Down Assembly constituency
North Down (Assembly constituency)
North Down is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

, which then included parts of Lisburn. He won the last seat, just six votes ahead of his nearest challenger, the closest margin of the election. He continued to serve as a UUP local councillor, serving as Mayor of Lisburn in 1988-9 before joining the Conservative Party
Conservatives in Northern Ireland
The Conservatives Northern Ireland is the section of the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom that operates in Northern Ireland...

. He was re-elected as a Conservative councillor in 1993 and 1997.

Bleakes stood unsuccessfully in the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998
Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998
-Seats summary:-Details:Although the SDLP won the most first preference votes, the Ulster Unionists won the most seats in the Assembly. This has been attributed to several reasons, including:...

 in Lagan Valley
Lagan Valley (Assembly constituency)
Lagan Valley is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996. Since 1998, it has elected members to the current Assembly....

. He then left the Conservatives to sit as an independent Unionist
Independent Unionist
See also Independent .Independent Unionist has been a label sometimes used by candidates in elections in the United Kingdom, indicating a support for Unionism, retaining the unity of the British state....

. However, a change in electoral legislation meant that he was unable to run under that label in 2001 and he lost his seat standing as an Independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

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