Former DUP MP William McCrea has not ruled out standing again for Westminster – despite the fact that he will be over 70 at the time of the next general election.
The Rev McCrea, who lost his South Antrim seat to the UUP’s Danny Kinahan in May’s election, dismissed suggestions that he might go to the House of Lords, saying: “I will tell you that I have no intention of hanging up my boots and doing nothing.”
The 66-year-old DUP veteran told the Mid Ulster Mail: “At present I am reflecting on my life and looking forward to my next challenge.”
Mr McCrea, who held the seat for 10-and-a-half years, is philosophical about his defeat, pointing out that proposed boundary changes “will swing the seat back to the DUP”.
He said the TUV “with whom I share a lot of views” took votes from him and Mr Kinahan was helped across the line by votes from Alliance, SDLP and some Sinn Fein voters.
“I’m not sitting around groaning and moaning about it,” he laughed.
He believes that God intended it to happen and “I will not rebel against his will”.
He revealed that after the election defeat, a colleague offered him his seat in the Assembly.
“It was a genuine offer but I declined as I want time to reflect and get ready for the next challenge,” he said, revealing that he has been invited to Gospel singing and preaching events in Kenya, Australia and Uganda.
In recent weeks he has been busy winding up his constituency offices in Ballyclare and Antrim and this has “hurt me more than anything”.
“My office staff provided an excellent service to all members of the community regardless of religion or whether they be rich or poor, and I have no doubt this will be missed,” he continued.
“In fact, I have been getting calls lately from people asking me ‘William can you help us with this, or that’, and I have to tell them I no longer can help.
“I have not lost out. The people of South Antrim have lost out on a service that was second to none.”
He doesn’t believe Mr Kinahan will hold on to the seat.
“He is a one-term MP,” he claimed.
“People elect you to carry out the day-to-day bread and butter issues and they will soon find you out.”