18/04/2019

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood To Contest European Elections

Colum Eastwood, the leader of Northern Ireland's Social Democratic and Labour Party, has confirmed his intentions to contest the upcoming European Parliament election.

Voters will take to the polls on Thursday 23 May to elect MEPs for the region.

Outlining his reasons to stand, the Foyle MLA said the election is "unique" and he hopes to represent the pro-Europe majority in Northern Ireland.

He explained: "This is an election like no other. In June 2016, a majority of people from communities across Northern Ireland came together to express our clear will that we should remain in the European Union. It was a vote that, unlike many others, saw people break free from their traditional trenches to occupy a common ground and a common identity.
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"Since then, the broad progressive coalition that came together has been sidelined and silenced. Without a government in Belfast and with the DUP aligned to hard Brexit fanatics in London, people here have been ignored. Enough is enough.

"This European election should be a referendum – the North's People's Vote. As the most pro-Europe party in the North and the only party which joined the official campaign against Brexit in 2016, the SDLP will be a strong voice championing our shared values and opposing the destructive ideology that is leading the British Government toward a hard border on this island.

"The electoral maths of this campaign are also clear. The SDLP is within striking distance of the third European seat. We are the best chance of returning two Pro-Europe MEPs. I'm urging everyone in this election, regardless of how they normally vote, to join the progressive coalition that delivered a Remain vote in 2016 by voting for the SDLP to deliver another pro-Europe MEP to fight our corner."

Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson and the DUP's Diane Dodds are understood to be on course to take the first two seats. UUP representative Jim Nicholson announced his decision not to stand earlier this week.



(JG/CM)

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