Veteran ex-UBP MP John Barritt was on Tuesday sworn in as the new Leader of the Opposition by Governor Sir Richard Gozney. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Veteran ex-UBP MP John Barritt was on Tuesday sworn in as the new Leader of the Opposition by Governor Sir Richard Gozney. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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Former UBP MP John Barritt today was sworn in as the new Leader of the Opposition at Government House.

Mr Barritt — who quit the United Bermuda Party with six other MPs after a legal challenge to its merger with the Bermuda Democratic Alliancewas mounted by a group led by UBP leader Kim Swan — said the path to his appointment had been “less than straightforward”.

He was speaking only two hours before the new One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) — the seven ex-UBP members plus three BDA MPs — was launched.

But Mr Barritt paid tribute to Mr Swan’s three years in charge of the 47-year-old party and thanked Opposition MPs for their “confidence and faith and trust” in his ability to lead the new party.

Governor Sir Richard Gozney said that his job was to appoint the MP who commanded the support of most non-government MPs as Leader of the Opposition, irrespective of party affiliations.

A meeting of the UBP two weeks ago voted to merge with the BDA, which split from the UBP in 2009, to form the One Bermuda Alliance.

But Mr Swan, backed by MP Charles Swan and others, won an interim injunction halting the creation of the new party.

They argued that UBP procedures on consultation with branches had not been followed and that the merger process was “deeply flawed”.

After Commercial Court judge Ian Kawaley granted the injunction, the planned launch of the OBA in time for the new parliamentary session last Friday was put on hold.

But — by quitting the UBP — the seven sidestepped the injunction, clearing the way for them to join the new OBA, which will field 10 MPs in the House of Assembly.

Mr Swan resigned as leader of the Opposition on Monday after it was clear he no longer commanded the support of the majority of Opposition MPs.

He and Charles Swan are now likely to continue as the only two UBP MPs in the House.

The current make-up of the House will consist of 23 Progressive Labour Party MPs, 10 OBA MPs, two UBP MPs, and one independent MP.