Local council election candidate, Jimmy Carr, has quit the SDLP less than 24 hours before voters go to the polls in Derry.
Mr. Carr said he was “devastated” and “sickened” by the party’s decision to withdraw support from him last night.
“How can I ever go back to the party [SDLP] after the way they have treated me? I am an innocent man. I am absolutely devastated and sickened. I’ve been accused of being a drug dealer and of providing information on drug dealers this is all not true.”
The party took the decision to withdraw their support for Mr. Carr after The Derry Journal exclusively revealed that messages of a “questionable” nature linked to Mr. Carr had been discovered on a Derry City Council issued iPad.
In a statement to The Derry Journal on Monday, an SDLP party spokesperson said: “We [SDLP] can confirm that there is a suggestion that these messages appear to be linked to Jimmy Carr.
“Jimmy Carr has denied involvement to the party and has told the party that he is willing to co-operate with both the PSNI and Derry City Council (DCC).
“An SDLP Councillor last week alerted a Senior Council Officer to the fact that non-council related messages of a questionable and personal nature had appeared on a council issued device. The device was handed in with the recommendation that it be referred to the police. The party has also notified the police and will co-operate in any investigation.”
It then emerged late last night that the party had asked the other three SDLP candidates contesting the same District Electoral Area (DEA) as Mr. Carr, to stop their campaign on the basis of “also commending Jimmy Carr’s candidacy”.
“The SDLP DEA are no longer asking our candidates and party activists in the Ballyarnett DEA to continue their campaign on the basis of also commending Jimmy Carr’s candidacy.
“These three outstanding candidates have to be able to fight the remaining campaign on the basis of the strong policy platform and sound representation which they and the SDLP offer.
“This decision is made without prejudice to any investigations into matters in which Jimmy Carr denies involvement or any other determinations which would not fall to this election directorate,” an SDLP Party
Repeated attempts were made to contact both Mr. Carr and his father, Mr. Sean Carr, but both were unavailable for comment.