Campbell hits back after Red Sky debate criticism

Gregory Campbell 'during the debate in Stormont.
Gregory Campbell 'during the debate in Stormont.

Gregory Campbell has responded to criticism by SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat for remarks he made about the late David McClarty in the Assembly.

During the Red Sky Debate, Mr Campbell made references to Mr McClarty’s illness while claiming that he was persuaded to leave the Social Development Committee by Jim Allister.

Mr Campbell said that Mr Dallat’s criticism of him came “in the aftermath of his party’s worst ever electoral performance in this constituency.

“As he was the election agent on this occasion I will leave his Party to decide their best way forward. Both he and they have reduced their votes at successive elections so further comment seems unnecessary.”

He went on: “The issue of the Social Development Committee’s investigation into a television programme about a DUP Minister’s Department began in July 2013. There are three very straightforward issues at stake for the public in the aftermath of the debate surrounding the report of that Committee.

“The public knew when Jim Allister got on to the Social Development Committee, it was in 2013 just after that Committee started an inquiry into the DUP’s DSD Department. This was despite him having no previous interest in, or any attempt to get on, that Committee.

“They also knew why he wanted on the Committee when it was due to start this investigation as he spends most days trying to attack his former party, the DUP.

“The only unanswered element was how he got on the Committee. A close examination of the debate shows that when I challenged him he avoided specifically saying that he made the initial approach to the late David McClarty.

“Claire Sugden MLA, although not in the Chamber at the time did enter and although she appeared to be acting on inaccurate information, did put on the public record that the initial approach was in fact from Mr. Allister.

“As I said at the time and am content to repeat again, that is very useful. We now know when, why and how Mr Allister got on to the Committee.

“That was the fundamental issue at stake, there has not been any criticism of the late David McClarty.The public now have transparency on Mr. Allister’s stance, if some other politicians choose to ignore this, then there really is none so blind as those who will not see.”