McKenzie quits amid NI21 crisis

Published Thursday, 22 May 2014
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NI21 European candidate Tina McKenzie has resigned from the party's executive amid a deepening internal crisis.

McKenzie quits amid NI21 crisis
Party Leader Basil McCrea with deputy John McCallister and Tina McKenzie in 2013 (© Pacemaker)

Ms McKenzie, a senior executive in the employment services industry and mother of three, was a founding member of the party established after Basil McCrea and John McCallister split from the Ulster Unionist Party.

She made the annoucement as polling stations closed across Northern Ireland on Thursday night.

"I would like to confirm my resignation with immediate effect from the executive," she said in a statement to party colleagues.

"I will, of course, continue to support NI21 but I'm looking forward to spending time with my family after a long year of supporting the party."

So sad that freshpolitics has been let down by old politicians. I have resigned from the Executive but still fully support NI21.

Tina McKenzie on Twitter

It is understood that other senior NI21 members have also quit as the new party, which was contesting its first elections, spirals into crisis.

It comes amid an intense row between party leader Mr McCrea and deputy leader Mr McCallister, which emerged after the party moved to clarify its decision to change its designation from 'unionist' to 'other' at Stormont earlier this week.

Party officials said they wanted to clear up any confusion over the issue ahead of the European and local council elections.

However Mr McCallister branded the decision "crazy" and said that it showed how "dysfunctional" the party had become.

If elected I will stand but will not work for people who play dirty tricks and dirty politics.

Tina McKenzie on Twitter

On Thursday night, Ms McKenzie said: "I wish John and Basil sincere good will and hope they can work out their differences for the sake of the party."

She also stood as a local candidate in Belfast's Balmoral District Electoral Area and confirmed on Twitter that she will take her seat "if elected", before deleting her profile.

Last month, she announced her decision to stand in the European contest, saying she wanted to promote a "united 21st century Northern Ireland".

She added: "I want to maximise the potential of Europe and will focus on getting the best for Northern Ireland not the best for any one community.

"I want to represent and promote our people, their talents, skills, commitment and drive to improve Northern Ireland and Europe."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Iain in Belfast wrote (245 days ago):
Well thankfully the oracle of knowledge in Newtownabbey was on hand to tell everyone what they think. Quite pointless but cheers for the chuckle with yet more bigotry.
janes in belfast wrote (247 days ago):
over all i find ms mckenzie to be up front and honest i dont agree with her veiws but i found her to be a bit of fresh air i hope she stays the course
Dee in Newtownabbey wrote (248 days ago):
This is so unfortunate. NI21 promised a bright new dawn, one which I bought into, but it seems regressive unionist tribal politics is never far from the surface and has thwarted progress once again. So very sad. NI21 could very well prove to be a damp squib. If NI21 are merely a wolf in sheep's clothing, ie, an out and out unionist party disguised as a party for all they will die. And I'll tell you why. They are too liberal for mainstream unionism, and are already alienated from that political block. And if they are not going to be a 'party for all' any nationalist support they had will gradually, or maybe even rapidly, dwindle away. Up to you Basil & John.
Joanna in Belfast wrote (248 days ago):
Massively disappointing that a party modelling itself on bringing fresh new 21st century voices to politics has shown themselves to be the same old same old. Infighting, slanging matches, political designation as them or us featuring highly on their agenda. I had intended to vote for Tina, as I wanted something new for my children's future... until I saw the unionist designation, that's not new politics, that's pretending you're wanting something else but needing traditional labels to define yourself. We need to move on. I'm a working mother bringing up a family in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. I'm happy with that, I'm more interested in the economy growing, good education, strong private sector, better healthcare. I'm not interested in designating myself unionist or nationalist. Get on and do a job for the future without labels from the past!!!
CJ in hillsborough wrote (248 days ago):
No real loss, no idea what she stood for anyway!
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