Speaking on the publication of the Report NI21 Leader Basil McCrea MLA said “I welcome the publication of this report and commend the Commissioner for the thoroughness of his investigation. I am pleased that all aspects of the complaints regardless of whether I was acting as an MLA or not have been fully investigated and that I have been completely exonerated.
Some elements of the Commissioner’s report have been redacted. This has not been at my request. Whilst I respect the right to a private life under Article 8, those that make public allegations should not be afforded protection in this regard. Whilst I and those that made the decisions are aware of the information that has been redacted, it is important that the public are fully aware of information that influenced such decisions. I therefore call for all aspects of the Commissioner’s report to published in full without redactions.
It is telling that despite being prepared to speak extensively to the press, neither Ms. Murray nor Mr. McCallister reported the matter to the police. I am disappointed that Mr. McCallister was not subjected to interview and his statements tested because of the ongoing criminal investigation in to him. It is also regrettable that Ms. Murray did not return for interview.
The delay in publishing the report also took its toll on my health, relationships and political opportunity. The main facts had been established by October of last year. It is a pity that Committee had not been able to report on those very significant matters at that time. Had the report been published in October 2015, then I and others would have been able to prepare for the forthcoming elections.
Finally, it should be noted that the Commissioner found that many of the allegations took place when I was not acting as an MLA. I could have made legal representation on this point to the effect that no further investigation or publication should be made on matters outside the remit of the Commissioner. Despite the embarrassing nature of some of the allegations I did not make any such representations because I wanted total transparency about what was alleged and circumstances surrounding the allegations.
I contend that the allegations were part of conspiracy to force me to resign my position as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. However I am a fighter. I will not run away. I won’t let the people who did this get away with it. If I don’t stand up for what is right, no one new will ever enter politics in Northern Ireland.”
The full report is available here.