Retired British Army colonel Tim Collins is to run for the Ulster Unionists as their North Down candidate in the next general election.
The last time an MP from the party was elected to North Down was 2010.
The current MP for the North Down constituency is Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry, who first won the seat in 2019, following the retirement of independent unionist Lady Hermon.
Talks were reportedly taking place among unionist parties in a bid to find an agreed single unionist candidate but the UUP leader Doug Beattie says his party “does not do pacts”.
No date has been scheduled yet for the Westminster election but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was his “working assumption” that it would take place in the second half of this year.
Northern Ireland elects 18 MPs to the House of Commons.
The DUP currently has eight seats, Sinn Féin holds seven while the SDLP has two and Alliance holds one seat in North Down.
The UUP last held two seats at Westminster from 2015 until 2017.
‘We cannot keep clinging to the past’
In relation to the recently passed UK Troubles legacy law, he told BBC Good Morning Ulster: “I take the view that justice has been weaponised in the province and it has been taken away.
“Sadly the fallout from this is that some people won’t see justice.
“Northern Ireland needs to move on, and this is part of moving Northern Ireland on. It needs to join the modern world and this is crucial to achieving that.”
On the new law, he said: “I think, sadly, it is something that is going to have to happen if we are ever to move on in Northern Ireland.”
It also stops any new Troubles-era court cases and inquests being held, and has been opposed by politicians in Northern Ireland.
“We cannot keep clinging to the past,” he said.
“We have got to remember we have young people. We don’t need more inquiries – we need better health services, we need better education, we need to spend the money where it is required, we need to move on.”
Asked if this aligns with party policy, he said: “That is something I’ll have to discuss because I’ve only just recently joined the Ulster Unionist Party.”
Col Collins currently lives in Canterbury but said he will buy a house in the north Down area, where he grew up and has connections, if he wins the seat.