JOHN McCallister has said that he will bring forward a Private Member’s Bill at Stormont in an attempt to move the Assembly towards allowing for an official Opposition.
Mr McCallister, who along with fellow former UUP MLA Basil McCrea announced yesterday that he would be setting up a new pro-Union political party, said that had been working for some time on legislation
There was no response yesterday from the three main unionist parties – the DUP, UUP and TUV – to the news of what will be a seventh pro-Union party in Northern Ireland.
The former UUP deputy leader, who in the last Assembly term became the first MLA since 1931 to successfully introduce a Private Member’s Bill and have it passed as law, said that he has been working for some time on legislation to allow for a formal Stormont Opposition.
Yesterday Mr McCallister said: “I’m still working on that Private Member’s Bill and I think that over the next few months we will be ready to go to the public for a consultation on what type of Opposition there should be.
“I think we can push the Opposition debate and I think it’s gathering much more momentum now that people are getting their head round what we mean – this is about a positive, constructive ability to scrutinise the Executive and provide an alternative.”
Yesterday it was confirmed that Mr McCrea will lead the party, something with which Mr McCallister said he was in agreement.
The South Down MLA said that the new party – which does not yet have a name – was going to have to begin a search for candidates to run in next year’s election to the new ‘super councils’.