By Shelley Marsden
Up to nine women have made allegations of inappropriate sexual activity against Basil McCrea, it has been revealed.
The N121 leader, who confirmed in an email to party staff that the allegations made against him were sexual in nature, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile his party is on the brink of collapse, having performed badly at local council elections.
Its European candidate Tina McKenzie, who resigned from the party’s executive last week, said in the midst of the current crisis it will be hard for Mr McCrea and John McCallister to stay on as leader and deputy leader.
After one of the women who has made allegations, 23 year old Ashleigh Murray, went public to the BBC with her story last week, Mr McCallister said Mr McCrea had to step aside while the investigation was being carried out.
“In light of the fact that a young woman has now publicly come forward regarding the allegations against Basil McCrea, I am now compelled to ask him to immediately step aside from the leadership of NI21 for the duration of the investigation.
“It would be impossible for the leader of any political party to remain in post when confronted with an investigation into such serious allegations.”
NI21 was set up last June by Basil McCrea and John McCallister, two former UUP MLAs with the promised of non-sectarian pro-Union politics, but recent weeks have seen the part in crisis after a proposal by its executive to drop its unionist designation at Stormont.