McCrea 'in the dark' over UUP hearing

Published Friday, 04 January 2013
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Ulster Unionist MLA Basil McCrea has told UTV he has no idea what kind of complaints have led to him being summoned to a party disciplinary hearing - or even if it is still set to go ahead on Friday.

McCrea 'in the dark' over UUP hearing
Basil McCrea, UUP MLA for Lagan Valley. (© UTV)

The Lagan Valley representative had the party whip removed from him before Christmas over comments he made during the ongoing row over the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

But, while he believes that further complaints have been made against him on a separate issue, he remains completely in the dark about what they might entail.

"I still don't know what the actual allegations are against me, or who made them," Mr McCrea said.

"It does strike me as slightly strange. It's quite hard to argue your case or provide information or explanation or whatever's required if you don't actually know what you're alleged to have done wrong. It certainly would be helpful from that point of view if I had more details."

Mr McCrea was notified prior to the holiday period that the hearing would be at 4pm on Friday.

However, he responded to inform the party that he couldn't make it due to a prior engagement, but added that he was happy to make himself available on a different date.

He told UTV that he hadn't heard back from the UUP and that still had received no communication at all from the party on the matter.

If I'm given the opportunity to say my piece, I will say it and I think I will win the day.

Basil McCrea, UUP

"As I said in an email to the party, if they can provide me with details, I would be more than happy to see if I can help them with the enquiries," Mr McCrea said.

"But I don't actually know what's happening and no doubt they'll be in touch in due course - but as to whether the meeting is happening or not, I have no idea."

According to Mr McCrea, such hearings have been held in the past without the person at the centre of them actually being present.

"But that tends to have been the case when the people didn't want to turn up," he added.

"I stress that I am more than happy to go and explain my position, which I am absolutely certain is in line with party policy and the appropriate stance."

Mr McCrea remains hopeful that the issues, whatever they may be, can be resolved.

The removal of the party whip came after Mr McCrea agreed with an Alliance Party amendment to the Belfast City Council motion on the Union flag, which supported a designated days policy.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt accused the MLA of doing "enormous damage" to the party and claimed that the comments showed "an inability to exercise self-discipline or demonstrate the basic characteristics of teamwork".

But South Down MLA John McCallister said Mr McCrea's statement had been "measured and sensible" and that the disciplinary action taken at the time was "unnecessary".

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (657 days ago):
Mr McCrea would do better to join the Alliance party where his talents and abilities would be put to better use. Basil is from Unionist stock, he obviously prefares the Union than having a United Ireland but hes not an extremist on the issue and thats whats wrong with many loyalists. Basil believes that its up to the majority to decide our future and in the case of the flag in Belfast city council, the council democratically voted to limt the days the flag is flown and basil supports this because THATS DEMOCRACY. Basil you'll be better placed in the Alliance party and your one of the few politicans who has proven their committed to a SHARED future, not just a british one.
joemcc in belfast wrote (658 days ago):
The UUP don't deserve men like Basil McCrea.Integrity is lost on the lost.
Patrick in Lisburn wrote (659 days ago):
Basil is out of touch with his electorate and as a Lagan Valley voter, he does not represent me.
charles in lisbellaw wrote (659 days ago):
Question; Where was basil when the lights went out ?. Answer; In the Dark!!!. He is certainly in the dark in respect of Unionist opinion, and has shown us same repeatedly in the past. Just two words for you basil, BYE, BYE. OH, PS, close the door on your way out thank you.
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