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Leader of Northern Ireland party takes legal action

The leader of Northern Ireland's newest party has said he is to launch an unspecified legal action after a falling out with his deputy leader, reports the BBC.

Basil McCrea is the leader of Northern Ireland's NI21 party, and spoke after falling out with his deputy John McCallister, to say he is intending to take an unspecified legal action after being made the subject of allegations of inappropriate sexual activity, which he denies.

The BBC reports that the incident surrounding Mr McCrea started when the party changed its designation from representing a Unionist view, to one of simply 'other' at the last moment before the recent elections.

The party's deputy claimed that the change of designation was designed to distract attention away from allegations of sexual impropriety, and called for Mr McCrea to step down whilst investigations were conducted.

The party was launched in 2013 after both men left the Ulster Unionist Party.

The aim of the party was to be a progressive pro-UK group aimed at supporting a modern Northern Ireland.

The allegations against Mr McCrea were made by a former party worker, Ashleigh Murray who is 23.

However, despite pleas to step aside whilst the allegations against him are considered and investigated, Mr McCrea appeared at the election count to thank people who supported NI21's campaign.

When asked about the allegations against him, Mr McCrea said he had been told not to speak to the media by his lawyers.

"I am not shy when it comes to talking about things but I cannot say anything because I am instigating legal action," he told the BBC.

Meanwhile his deputy John McCallister said his main aim was to get the investigations into Mr McCrea conducted and resolved as quickly as possible.

"My focus over recent weeks was, and still is, on getting the independent investigation into these allegations and issues," he said.