‘I helped found NI21, but it does not deserve to even survive’

John McCallister, Basil McCrea and NI21 chairwoman Tina McKenzie pictured at the party's launch in 2013. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

John McCallister, Basil McCrea and NI21 chairwoman Tina McKenzie pictured at the party's launch in 2013. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

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Former NI21 deputy leader John McCallister speaks to News Letter columnist Alex Kane about the party’s implosion, his bid to create a mechanism for a Stormont Opposition and whether he would rejoin the UUP.

Alex Kane: At what point did you realise that the NI21 project wasn’t going to work out as you had hoped?

John McCallister: It was a gradual thing rather than a bolt of lightning moment. The highpoint for NI21 was the conference in November 2013 when we talked about the roadmap to a new, normal society—particularly reform of Stormont and opposition. But instead of focusing on that agenda we sort of trundled along with not doing politics particularly well at all: like the stuff about On-The-Runs, when Basil was totally on the wrong page and didn’t bother discussing it with me before he did his Nolan Show interview.

 

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