11/02/2019

Claire Hanna Resigns From SDLP Assembly Group

MLA for south Belfast Claire Hanna has resigned from the SDLP's assembly group over the party's partnership with Fianna Fáil.

She has also resigned as the acting Brexit spokesperson as of today, 11 February, but will continue as an ordinary member of the SDLP and as an MLA representing her south Belfast constituents.

The resignation follows a party conference on Saturday when members overwhelmingly voted to back the partnership with Ireland's Fianna Fáil.

Nearly 70% voted in favour of the proposal.

A party statement said afterwards: "Together, SDLP and Fianna Fáil members, representatives and activists will forge a new relationship based on our proud and shared tradition of democratic struggle on this island. We will work together to begin in an unprecedented programme of public engagement in Northern Ireland, framing an ambitious and practical policy agenda for the future of this island and our people.
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"This partnership will be built on a genuine desire to deliver for people across Ireland, driven by an ambition to see power returned to local politicians and tasked with changing the lives of people who have for too long been let down by our politics here. 

"For some members this decision will not have been their desired outcome. The leadership recognise and are sensitive to that fact. We will be reaching out to all strands within our party in the coming weeks and months to ensure we move forward together."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA said he was accepting the resignation "with regret".

"At the SDLP Special Conference all members were afforded the opportunity to speak and delegates to vote on two motions," he said.

"The SDLP membership overwhelmingly voted for the party to embark on a partnership with Fianna Fáil.

"The party membership has democratically spoken and difficult though that decision may be for some, their wishes must be respected and enacted."



(JG/CM)

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