William McCrea was not blocked from House of Lords, says DUP

William McCrea said he had not heard he had been nominated to the Lords
William McCrea said he had not heard he had been nominated to the Lords
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The DUP has firmly denied speculation that its nominee to the House of Lords blocked by a sleaze watchdog was former South Antrim MP Willie McCrea.

On Thursday it was revealed that one DUP nominee, five Tories and one Liberal Democrat had been judged unsuitable to take a seat in the upper chamber.

There was speculation in mainstream and social media that the DUP nominee who had been blocked was Mr McCrea.

However, a DUP party spokesman firmly denied the suggestion.

“It was not William McCrea,” he told the News Letter.

Mr McCrea told a local newspaper that he had not heard that he had been nominated for the position.

He is one of the party’s longest serving and highest profile members having worked as MP for both Mid Ulster and South Antrim, losing his South Antrim seat to the UUP’s Danny Kinahan in the last general election.

He is also a Free Presbyterian minister and recorded gospel singer.

A spokeswoman for the House of Lords Appointment Commission said they do not identify individuals they have vetoed from the Lords.

The battery of checks they run on potential lords, she said, includes HM Revenue and Customs checks, to make sure nominees are in good standing regarding their tax and any companies they have been involved with. Checks are run with various government departments and a review is also carried out regarding media coverage of the individual.

Nominees’ party political donations are also vetted, she said. This is to ensure they are credible candidates and are not simply being nominated because of any donations they may have made to the party nominating them.

Nominees need not been elected politicians or even a party member – they just need to have been nominated by a party, she said.