NI21 targets Mid-Ulster ‘non-voters’

NI21 leader Basil McCrea and deputy leader John McCallister
NI21 leader Basil McCrea and deputy leader John McCallister

MID-Ulster has been targeted as a key area of potential gains by the new unionist party unveiled by Basil McCrea and John McCallister last week.

Basil McCrea, who is the leader of the NI21 party, 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 has now 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 Mid-Ulster 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.

“We had a strong turnout of people from Mid Ulster at our launch, many of whom were non-voters in the past, and want to see a stronger more confident Northern Ireland.

Mr McCrea 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 indentify with ‘sectarian politics’..

“We will ensure the people of Mid Ulster have NI21 candidates to vote for in Local elections, Assembly elections and Westminster elections.

“We are about offering voters a choice. In 1998 Mid Ulster had a turnout of almost 85% in the Assembly elections. 15 years on it was barely 65%.

“A growing number of voters do not identify with sectarian politics or the parties on offer. That is what NI21 is seeking to address.”