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Former MLA John McCallister tipped for Justice adviser position to Minister Claire Sugden

By Suzanne Breen

Former independent unionist MLA John McCallister has been tipped as a possible contender for the position of special adviser to the new Justice Minister, Claire Sugden.

Stormont insiders said the ex-NI21 deputy leader is believed to be one of several candidates she is considering for the role, adding that the former South Down MLA would be an ideal choice for the job.

“With all his experience, John McCallister would be exactly what Claire needs. He would offer great support and advice in her dealings with the DUP and Sinn Fein,” the source said.

However, it is understood that Mr McCallister, who lost his seat in the Assembly election, has not yet been approached. The name of a woman in the corporate sector has also been raised in connection with the position.

Ms Sugden was appointed Justice Minister last week after the Alliance Party turned down the portfolio.

The 29-year-old independent unionist MLA and Mr McCallister built a strong working relationship in the last Assembly.

Mr McCallister’s Private Members’ Bill paved the way for the first formal Opposition at Stormont since 1972.

The former UUP deputy leader quit in 2013 over a deal with the DUP. He went on to form NI21 with Basil McCrea but resigned from that party too in July 2014.

Belfast Telegraph


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