Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Loyalist nominated high sheriff

Belfast City Hall

A independent loyalist councillor who has past links with the UDA has been nominated high sheriff of Belfast.

Frank McCoubrey's nomination will only be confirmed if Secretary of State Shaun Woodward agrees.

As deputy lord mayor he was criticised for wearing his official robes to an event where he shared a stage with Johnny Adair and Michael Stone in 2000.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Office said it had only received one nomination.

The current high sheriff was asked by the NIO for the names of three suitable candidates for 2009. However, as in previous years, only one name was submitted.

Councillor Bob Stoker proposed Councillor McCoubrey and the council approved, while Sinn Féin abstained.

Mr McCoubrey, who is a former member of the now defunct UDA-linked Ulster Democratic Party, was elected as an independent councillor but for voting purposes is part of the Ulster Unionist council group at Belfast City Hall.

The high sheriff represents Belfast City Council at civic functions.

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