NI21 change from 'unionist' to 'other'

Published Wednesday, 21 May 2014
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NI21 has moved to clarify its decision to change its designation from 'unionist' to 'other' at Stormont.

NI21 change from 'unionist' to 'other'
Basil McCrea and John McCallister formed NI21 after leaving the UUP. (© Pacemaker)

The party on Wednesday said it wanted to clear up any confusion over the issue ahead of this week's European and local council elections.

However the change in designation appears to have led to a disagreement between party leader Basil McCrea and deputy leader John McCallister, with Mr McCallister criticising the move.

In Wednesday's News Letter newspaper, he branded the decision "crazy" and said that it showed how "dysfunctional" the party had become.

In response, a statement from NI21's party Executive explained: "We have been aware for some time that the party's initial decision to designate as 'Unionist' is confusing for the electorate.

"Our experience on the door, suggests that although the issue is confusing it is relatively unimportant. The vast majority of the electorate are more concerned with jobs, mortgages, the health service and making ends meet.

"Our stance on the constitutional issue is clear; we are a Northern Irish party that believes the people of Northern Ireland are better off within the United Kingdom but we feel strongly that the labels of the last century are sectarian and prevent us building a common future.

"Our decision to declare as 'other' therefore more accurately reflects our position."

Mr McCrea told UTV he was "a little disappointed" with Mr McCallister's comments.

"It was news to me whenever he went to the News Letter; I didn't know he was going to talk about those things.

"Obviously that gives us some things that when the elections are over, we are going to need to talk about.

"The party is bigger than one or two individuals."

The local and European elections take place on Thursday.

© UTV News
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22 Comments
Dee in Newtrownabbey wrote (157 days ago):
I sincerely hope NI21 can sort this mess out. They are a breath of fresh air.
The Street in Dromore wrote (157 days ago):
I hope he stands down and causes an election for his Stormont seat. But he won't as he knows he would lose.
Shame in Belfast wrote (157 days ago):
Only reason i was gonna vote 21 was because they seemed to not care about all this unionist/nationalist nonsense, but theyve lost it now!
gerard in belfast wrote (157 days ago):
i for 1 will be voteing for basil mccrea even low i come from the falls rd i have read some of his comments before and if we had more like him from the unionist side i think this wee country off ours would be a better place i am still wanting a utd ireland to me from what i read this party is for every 1 weather ur catholic r protestant but there again most protestant just want to live in peace just like catholics its these loyalists like the dup tuv and now uup is holding the rest of us up i know we will never get the utd ireland in my time we r as far away from it as we were in 1916 never mind what s/f say they r still brain washing a lot of people from this side off the road it will be the young 1s who will take s/f down as they have live in what little peace what have here at the min
Eamonn Sandown in Belfast wrote (157 days ago):
Lost a vote
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