Basil McCrea votes against UUP

Published Monday, 21 January 2013
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Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea has voted against his party at Stormont for the first time.

Basil McCrea votes against UUP
Basil McCrea has been outspoken on the issue of flags. (© Pacemaker)

The Lagan Valley MLA opposed them over a DUP amendment to a UUP motion calling for the Assembly's commitment to inclusivity, mutual respect, peace and democracy, in the wake of the recent unrest over flags in Northern Ireland.

The DUP wanted to remove a reference to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr McCrea said: "In his opening remarks Mike Nesbitt declared that he was 'puzzled' about the opposition to the DUP amendment and later that 'he/we would not die in a ditch' for the part of his motion that called on all parties to support the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

"I cannot support this position. I will not accept that the Belfast Agreement can be so easily discarded and I refuse to accept that the DUP amendment is anything other than an attack on the Belfast Agreement."

Mr McCrea recently had the UUP whip removed after he spoke out of line with the party's stance on flying the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

He agreed with the Alliance Party motion of flying the flag on designated days, and said he felt his stance was in accordance with UUP policy. He is currently facing disciplinary action.

Mr McCrea has also stated he will quit the party if an electoral alliance is formed with the DUP.

He tweeted: "I will not stand with the party if there are electoral pacts with the DUP. Unionist unity is not a good thing for Northern Ireland."

The motion condemning violence was backed by the Assembly on Monday while the amendment was not.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said Mr McCrea's comments were "unfounded".

He continued: "I also note the concerns expressed in the media by Basil McCrea over the Party moving away the Belfast Agreement were, therefore, unfounded.

"Indeed, it should have been clear to him that the DUP amendment was never going to pass, so there was no threat to our commitment to promoting the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

"I am disappointed that the entire House did not support our motion, indeed some Unionists even voted against it. For those accusing me of sleeping-walking into unionist unity; look at the vote. We voted 'yes', the DUP voted 'no'.

"I remain committed to advancing the cause of the Union. Where that is best achieved by us working alone, in opposition to other unionist parties, that is what we will do, as we did today. When co-operation is called for, as it is in dealing with the street protests and their underlying issues, I shall co-operate. I continue to consult widely and continually on this strategy and am grateful for the overwhelming support of the Party."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
9 Comments
sick of it in Yyourma wrote (589 days ago):
I've had enough I'm leaving this country
bob in PUP wrote (589 days ago):
Mike Nesbitt has no leadership skills. He's trying to dictate party politics. Amateur! Crawl back under your journalistic stats pile for no-body likes a smart alic. Basil McCrea apparently has a brain and is trying to use it. A rare thing amongst 'Ulster' Unionists. Unfortunately it won't work without party support. USN flag wavers and their dictators will shout him down, and crawl back into their respective ghettos and gratuitous mansions.
Dessie in Belfast wrote (589 days ago):
Fair play to basil at least someone wants a shared future instead of being in the past.other partys should learn from him.
John in Belfast wrote (589 days ago):
This to me shows that Basil is a sensible and intelligent man capable of using his own brain to make decisions and stand for what he believes in. He seems very progressive and fair with an absolute lack of tribal bigotry. Unionism could do with a lot more politicians like Basil and less of teh likes of Nelson McCausland, Mike Nesbitt and the current flavour of the month Jamie Bwyson.
gerard in belfast wrote (589 days ago):
i think basil mccrea is the only unionist who is right at lest he is standing and talking for wat he belives in and that is the belfast agreement were we all live as one not like mike nesbitt who started out talking that we all have to live here and wat is best for n.ireland then he gos and jumps with dup in hope to be like so sad mike go back to tv u were like then u sad little man
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