The Assembly’s Standards and Privileges Committee has asked for a review of how the commissioner for standards, Douglas Bain, conducted his investigation into Basil McCrea.
The committee said it had received three complaints from those interviewed by the commissioner about how Mr Bain conducted interviews “and a perception of bias from the commissioner”.
It said: “The committee would reiterate the need for confidence in the manner in which the commissioner conducts his investigation and has therefore agreed to make arrangements to have an independent review and report to it on how aspects of this investigation were conducted.”
In an interview with one former NI21 worker, Connor Clements, Mr Clements claimed that a transcript of his initial interview which was sent to him to approve its accuracy had been “sanitised”. When asked by Mr Bain if he was saying that parts had been deliberately omitted, Mr Clements said: “Well, yes”.
Mr Clements said that he found it “bizarre” that Mr Bain had destroyed the recording of their interview.
At one point, Mr Clements said in the interview: “Sorry, you can roll your eyes all you like, you know, I am here to help with your investigation.”
Mr Bain replied: “I know and I appreciate it and that’s why I am giving you the opportunity to tell me whatever you want.” Mr Clements replied: “No, I don’t think you do.”
However, later in the interview, Mr Clements declined to specify areas in which the transcript did not accurately reflect what he had said, saying that he could not do so without hearing the recording which had been destroyed.