UUP to discuss McCrea stance on flags

Published Friday, 07 December 2012
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The Ulster Unionists are to discuss the political future of Basil McCrea after he said he agrees with the Alliance stance on flags.

UUP to discuss McCrea stance on flags
Mr McCrea spoke out of line with party policy. (© UTV)

Three councillors on Belfast City Council have threatened to resign from the UUP if the Lagan Valley MLA is not expelled over his comments.

Mr McCrea spoke against the party line set out by leader Mike Nesbitt when he said he believes the Union flag should fly from City Hall on designated days.

It comes after a motion was passed by 29 votes to 21 at a council meeting this week.

Nationalists had wanted the flag taken down altogether but Alliance, which holds the balance of power, put forward a compromise.

"In my opinion what we do here in Lisburn, which is to fly the flag on designated days plus two other days, seems to have some merit in it," Mr McCrea told UTV.

"We fly the flag close to the war memorial also so I think there are ways of sorting this out."

Asked if he sees his stance as being more in line with Alliance than UUP, he added: "I actually think this is Ulster Unionist Party policy.

"It's the UUP in Lisburn that introduced designated days in 2002, we all voted for it including the DUP and frankly there have been no issues.

"I have had a discussion with Mike and made it quite clear that we do need to find a way to make sure everyone's culture and background is respected and one of the ways to do that is to have a proper look at the flags issue and sort this out."

A number of UUP councillors on Belfast City Council are angry about the comments and said they are going to consider their positions.

The party will discuss the matter when its executive meets on Saturday.

"Mike Nesbitt made the Ulster Unionist party's position absolutely clear on Thursday," a statement from the Unionists explained.

"There is a fundamental issue regarding the chipping away of people's identity as British citizens. No doubt Basil McCrea's interview will be brought up when the party executive meet tomorrow."

© UTV News
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14 Comments
Dee in Glengormley wrote (738 days ago):
Basil McCrea represents the way forward. These rabid loyalists can't see the wood for the trees and how the rest of the world sees them. They are stuck in a time warp. McCrea actually gives me a wee bit of hope that there are reasonable unionists out there who can rise above tribal politics. The one fear though, as has happened often within unionism in the past, is he's denounced as a traitor, a Lundy, a Sinn Feinner, we've heard it already on these message boards, and he gets ostracised by his own community. McCrea is a principled unionist and I respect fully his politics but he conducts himself in the right way. Keep up the good work Basil. You have the respect of all reasonable fair-minded people.
Danny in Ulster wrote (738 days ago):
@Ryan in Belfast - No one is denying you your right to call yourself Irish, and you may have seen a cosy united Ireland fantasy world in your crystal ball, but here and now in the real world, Scotland are part of the UK, and N. Ireland are part of the UK, and will remain so for thr forseeable future. Don't delude yourself that all catholics in NI are republicans, many know they are better off for now as part of the UK. Lets face it, the UK had to bail out the republic with loans not so long ago, and its not as if their economy could cope with the cost of NI too. Many people in the ROI don't want to be united with NI and have to pay for us, and I speak as someone with family in both the north & south.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (739 days ago):
Fair play to Basil McCrea, he cleary sees the way forward for ALL the communities here. I was listening to him on the Nolan show and i pretty much agreedd with everything he says. Basil may be in support of the Union but hes not an extremist, hardline unionist. He realizes that almost 50% (and soon the majority) of the people of the 6 counties are Irish, not British and that the Union jack doesnt represent them. This hardline and, lets be honest, bigoted, view by Unionists that Northern ireland is "british" is very unrealistic and just a downright lie. Loyalism is 17th century politics. Im not british, never have been and never will be and i dont mean that in an agressive way, the simple fact is im Irish, not british and the problem with Unionists is they dont want me to be entitled to that but sorry this is a democracy and i am entitled to it.
Isobel in Lisburn wrote (740 days ago):
Basil McCrea is out of step with those that elected him and went against the Party Leader. The union flag is the flag of the UK and it is disgraceful that SF and the SDLP saw fit to raise this in the first place. What next?? The Queen's head removed from our currency.
Max in Belfast wrote (741 days ago):
Ah come on now Norman D, taking a moderate stance to help end several nights of rioting and using an example that worked in Lisburn hardley makes someone a Sinn Feiner.
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