As Northern Ireland goes to the polls this morning, the Province’s newest political party is tearing itself apart in public.
Members of NI21 yesterday took sides with either leader Basil McCrea or deputy leader John McCallister over the sudden U-turn to stop describing the party as ‘unionist’.
After Mr McCallister spoke out in yesterday’s News Letter to condemn the move as “crazy” and evidence of how “dysfunctional” the party had become, Mr McCrea hit back, suggesting that Mr McCallister may be acting out of jealousy at the party’s “success”.
Last night a party ‘policy’ website was taken over by an NI21 member who posted a statement in support of Mr McCallister and said: “Basil McCrea is not a man fit to lead a political party.”
One of the party’s council candidates, and the chairman of its youth wing, Ben Matthews, said he supported Mr McCallister’s description of the policy U-turn as “crazy”.
And last night the party’s former secretary, Alan Patterson, said that he had left NI21 because he could not work with Mr McCrea, who he described as an “empty vessel”.
Mr McCrea rejected claims by Mr Patterson that his conduct towards staff was “not at a level that I would expect”.