Prominent Ulster Unionist figure David McNarry has launched a devastating attack on both contenders for the party leadership — and warned he and others may not vote for either.
The senior Stormont figure described his Strangford colleague Mike Nesbitt's approach as shallow and accused John McCallister of being “naive and immature”.
McNarry, who was dismissed from the Stormont education committee by former leader Tom Elliott, said he feared there are a growing number of people who will not back the rival candidates.
The veteran MLA said he had received emails and phone-calls from party members who felt “disenfranchised” by the decision of the party's sole Executive minister, Danny Kennedy, not to run.
Mr McNarry, who had backed Mr Kennedy, said: “I have to say I find myself on the horns of the same dilemma.”
His verbal attack came after Mr McCallister made clear he would immediately sack Mr McNarry, who is awaiting the outcome of ongoing disciplinary proceedings after resigning from the UUP Assembly group. But the Strangford MLA said he expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing.