McCallister: McCrea’s decision to quit nothing to do with me

John McCallister said he had nothing to add to Basil McCrea's announcement
John McCallister said he had nothing to add to Basil McCrea's announcement

Basil McCrea’s one-time colleague in NI21 John McCallister had “nothing to add” after Mr McCrea announced his intention to quit the political arena.

Mr McCallister told the News Letter: “I have nothing more to add as I have been out of NI21 for almost two years now.”

He said Mr McCrea’s announcement “has nothing to do with me”.

NI21 was set up by the two MLAs after they quit the Ulster Unionist Party in 2013.

However, Mr McCallister dramatically walked away from the party in 2014 after a public falling-out with Mr McCrea.

In an interview the NI21 leader said that he would not stand in the next Assembly elections and is now looking for a new career.

Mr McCrea said he had become “disillusioned” with politics.

His announcement came two weeks after a report by the Assembly standards watchdog Douglas Bain cleared him of wrongdoing following allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying complaints passed on to the commissioner by Mr McCallister.

The upcoming May election would have been MrMcCrea’s major test as a NI21 candidate but he claimed that he was confident he would have retained his seat.

“The reaction on the door steps was not negative,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I honestly believe I would have kept my seat.

“I’ve worked long and hard and I think I tried to make a difference in politics and not too many politicians can say that.”

He added: “But even if I got re-elected I would have been ignored, I wouldn’t even have been able to speak much in the Assembly.

“There’s a hard political reality to the decision.

“It doesn’t matter who stands for election because there will be no change of government or of policy. It will just be the two big parties, with the small parties sniping away on the sidelines.

“Independents are no more than an irritant and the structures are extremely frustrating and will not work.”