INTERNAL Orange Order pressure is understood to be behind David Simpson’s resignation from the institution after 30 years.
Mr Simspon, (pictured) who was Deputy District Master of Loughgall, had been facing increased criticism after allegations of an extra-marital affair were revealed.
While the Orange Order has declined to make any comment at this stage, it is understood Mr Simpson tendered his resignation last week.
It means his position will be left vacant as the Loughgall lodge prepares to host the biggest Twelfth demonstration in Northern Ireland.
However, this will not affect the Twelfth celebrations in the village which are expected to attract thousands on the day.
There had been disquiet within the Order about the revelations regarding Mr Simpson.
A source close to the Orange Order said it had been understood that Mr Simpson would not be in attendance at this year’s Twelfth demonstration in Loughgall and that he would step down quietly later in the summer.
Eyebrows were raised, however, when Mr Simpson was reappointed Worshipful Master of the Houses of Parliament’s Orange Lodge last month.
The source added that pressure on Mr Simpson began to increase and his position as Deputy District Master became untenable.
His resignation will bring to an end all his positions within the Orange Order as well as membership of the Royal Black Preceptory.
Mr Simpson, who has been MP for Upper Bann since 2005, reportedly left his family home when allegations of the affair with a DUP party colleague came to light.