Northern Ireland

NI21 row: Political reaction

Politicians in Northern Ireland have been speaking about the clash between NI21 leader Basil McCrea and his deputy John McCallister.

Mr McCrea has confirmed that he is facing claims of inappropriate sexual activity. He says that he has done nothing wrong.

Disagreement arose after the party re-designated as "other" rather then "unionist". Party deputy leader John McCallister alleged that decision was an attempt to derail an investigation into the claims which he had instigated.

Mr McCrea told BBC Radio's Good Morning Ulster on Friday that the allegations were only brought to his attention on Thursday.

Adam Murray NI21 candidate: Castlereagh South

It has been an absolutely heart-wrenching past 48 hours.

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Image caption Adam Murray said he felt let down and disappointed

Down at the count, there is quite a heavy mood amongst candidates. I can't imagine how general member and voters feel right now.

We have put so much effort and so much work into this, it was my first time in getting involved in politics. This was about a real passion for Northern Ireland for change and reform. We poured our heart and soul into this. We knew there would be problems, but to think it would come from the top levels of our own party - We never thought this.

Was it right to go to the News Letter and speak to them? Personally, I don't think it was the best decision to make. That inflamed the situation. I feel let down and disappointed.

Gary Grattan NI21 candidate: Three Milewater

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Image caption Gary Grattan said his party's principles remained intatct

I am a bit shell-shocked to say the least. All I can say is that when we all got involved with this party, we truly believed in the ethos behind it.

I knocked on nearly 4,000 doors and the vast majority of people believed in what we are trying to do. Those principles remain intact regardless as to what happened to two leaders.

It is more than two people - there 's a movement and a passion.

There's been poor leadership and poor communication I was out canvassing and a woman told me about the redesignation on her doorstep. I was absolutely outraged.

The vision has not changed, it is the leadership that has put us into this mess.

Alison Crawford NI21 candidate: North Belfast

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Image caption Alison Crawford said it was disappointing

This is not really how we would have hoped to have our first foray into politics. It is not how we hoped the count day would be. It is disappointing.

The candidates are people with honesty and integrity, they really wanted to change things.

NI21's former Director of Communications John Rainey

The events of the past 24 hours confirmed that John McCallister was right when he said the party was dysfunctional. There is a major problem and it stem s from the leader.

I don't think the party is finished. There has been a seismic shift of support away from Basil McCrea and towards John McCallister.

The party needs to renew and it should be able to renew from within.

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