An SDLP election candidate has accused his own party of a witch-hunt after it withdrew its support for him at the eleventh hour.
Derry City councillor Jimmy Carr said he was shocked when the party announced late on Tuesday evening that it was no longer backing him – two days before the council election. It is believed the move was prompted by messages found on a Derry City Council iPad of a drug-related nature.
They were brought to the attention of both Derry City Council and the PSNI by an SDLP member. Mr Carr strenuously denied any link to the content of the messages.
He said: "The first I knew about the SDLP withdrawing support from me was through social media, which in itself is really sickening.
"I am still trying to come to terms with this but one thing for sure is I will continue with the election even if I now have to do so as an independent candidate.
"There is no justification for what the SDLP has done to me – this is a witch-hunt from within the party. I am an innocent man.
"There is no truth in what has been suggested on that iPad and the truth will come out because I have nothing to hide."
The SDLP confirmed that the party was no longer supporting Mr Carr's campaign.
"The SDLP Derry election directorate are no longer asking our candidates and party activists in the Ballyarnett DEA to continue their campaign on the basis of also commending Jimmy Carr's candidacy," said a spokeswoman.
"This decision is made without prejudice to any investigations into matters in which Jimmy Carr denies involvement or any other determinations which would not fall to this election directorate."
A spokeswoman for Derry City Council added: "Council was made aware of an issue in relation to a council-owned iPad."
She said no complaint had been received about any elected member, nor had the council launched any investigation.