Belfast Telegraph

Can the damage ever be repaired?

By Liam Clarke

If N121 is to regroup, and that would be a major undertaking, then the next person we need to hear from is Basil McCrea, the party leader.

It has been clear for months that relations between Mr McCrea and Mr McCallister had become so poisoned that the two politicians could not work together in a single party. Now that Mr McCallister is gone, it falls to Mr McCrea to take things in hand.

So far he has hung back, explaining that he is taking legal action. That may be so, but a politician cannot refrain from comment for too long, particularly one who wants to revive a badly damaged party.

Mr McCrea cannot hope to give an interview on anything without being asked about the allegations made against him. He has said that some of them involved alleged sexual impropriety, which he denies. Others involved no more than allegedly raising his voice to employees or party activists. It should be noted that the police have taken no action against him.

Tina McKenzie, NI21's European candidate and former chair, remains a member committed to NI21's principles. Her voice and that of Johnny McCarthy, its sole councillor, could be important.

The odds are stacked against the party making a comeback. Its implosion was spectacular. Its only chance is if Mr McCrea can work with this team and clear the air with the public.

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