A MID-ULSTER MLA has hit out at newly formed political party NI21 after its leader said the constituency offered “huge potential” to gain voters.
DUP assemblyman Ian McCrea launched a scathing attack on the party, after leader Basil McCrea told the MAIL it would be targeting non-voters ‘fed up’ with what he called a ‘sectarian head count’ in Mid-Ulster.
In response the DUP politician described the party, formed by the Lagan Valley MLA and former Ulster Unionist colleague John McCallister, as “chameleons” that “change their morals” to win votes.
He also attacked the party for tweeting in Irish.
“Having considered this statement from Basil, I think that he should concentrate on getting his own house in order instead of trying to make inroads in constituencies that are already stretched thin with unionist representation,” Mr McCrea said.
“Anyone I have spoken to regarding this new party have just laughed, but also expressed that they have no appetite for another split in the Mid Ulster vote and they especially don’t want a party that tweets in Irish for the sole purpose of vote winning.
Mr McCrea continued: “NI21 are positioning themselves to be a party that is different from the rest, but as far as I can see they are nothing but chameleons that change their message and morals to suit whatever area they are trying to win votes in.”
Speaking to the MAIL last week, Basil McCrea said it was the decision by his former party the UUP and the DUP for an agreed candidate in the Mid-Ulster by-election in March, which forced both him and John McCallister to leave.
He also revealed that a sizeable number of people from this constituency turned up for the launch of his new party.
“The Mid Ulster constituency offers huge potential for NI21,” the Lagan Valley MLA told the MAIL.
“Our party offers a break from the sectarian head count which has dominated Mid Ulster politics over the past two decades, and allows voters to support a strong Northern Irish identity and positive policies.
Mr McCrea also pledged to field NI21 candidates in all the forthcoming elections in Mid Ulster for the ‘growing numbers’ of voters here who he said did not identify with ‘sectarian politics’.