David McNarry (born 25 May 1948) is a member and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in Northern Ireland. He stood for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in North Down in the 1982 Assembly elections but failed to be elected. He was first elected as an MLA for the UUP in 2003 and subsequently re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011, before parting company with the party in 2012 and then going on to join UKIP. He is a former UUP chief whip and education spokesman.
A Northern Ireland Office (NIO) memo released in 2012 described him as "a dangerous nuisance". He is the current Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
In 1973, he stood unsuccessfully as a pro-White Paper Unionist candidate in the election to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and unsuccessfully again, this time for the United Ulster Unionist Council, in the Constitutional Convention election of 1975. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Ulster Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland Assembly election of 1982
McNarry was selected in 2001 to contest the Strangford Westminster seat after the incumbent, John Taylor, announced he would be retiring. Iris Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party was the eventual winner of the seat.
McNarry is a former local councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ards. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he was an adviser to First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble. He stood for the party leadership in 2005 along with Alan McFarland and Lord Reg Empey which Empey went on to win. Following the contest, he was appointed as the UUP education spokesman. He is a former chairman of the Ulster Young Unionist Council.
McNarry resigned from the UUP Assembly group on 27 January 2012 after being sacked by party leader Tom Elliott as the Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. After an investigation by the UUP Disciplinary Committee, McNarry was suspended. The new leader Mike Nesbitt commented publicly that he was unlikely to offer McNarry the UUP whip on completion of the suspension.
McNarry left the UUP and sat as an Independent for a few months before joining UKIP in October 2012, becoming UKIP's first MLA. In 2013, McNarry was elected as the UKIP leader in Northern Ireland. In the May 2014 local government elections, under McNarry's stewardship, UKIP gained two new local councillors in the region, taking the total number of UKIP councillors in Northern Ireland up to four. The party also received 24,584 (3.9%) first preference votes in the 2014 European election in Northern Ireland and failed to win a seat. At the 2014 UKIP national conference in Doncaster, McNarry delivered a keynote speech which was warmly received by delegates. He received praise from commentators who referred to the speech as a "statesman-like" address. In the speech, he noted that UKIP was the only UK-wide party to have elected representation in each of the four parts of the UK. Under McNarry's stewardship, councillors from the DUP, TUV, and a former UUP Belfast Lord Mayor, Bob Stoker, defected to the party.
In the 2015 United Kingdom general election, UKIP failed to have a single candidate elected, but in terms of votes finished as the highest performing of the non-Executive parties in Northern Ireland, receiving 18,324 (2.6%) votes whilst only fielding candidates in ten of the available eighteen seats. In the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election, UKIP, fielding 13 candidates, again failed to win a seat but drew 10,109 (1.5%) votes, McNarry, had previously announced his intention to retire from front-line politics and not seek re-election. In November 2016, McNarry's term of Office as UKIP leader in Northern Ireland ended when the party elected its new national leader, Paul Nuttall.