Naomi Long To Contest East Belfast MP Seat

Alliance chief Naomi Long is to stand for her party as the East Belfast candidate in the General Election.

Announcing her bid to reclaim the seat from the DUP's Gavin Robinson, which she previously held from 2010 to 2015, the current MEP said she will be running on a platform of ending the Brexit chaos and protecting Northern Ireland from any catastrophic no deal.

The news comes as the SDLP took the decision not to stand in North Down, North Belfast and East Belfast in the hope of returning more pro-Remain MPs.

Ms Long said the representation in the House of Commons after the 12 December poll will shape the final phase of Brexit negotiations.

"This election will choose the Parliament which ultimately determines our future relationship with Europe. Following Alliance's successes in May's elections, we are uniquely placed as the largest, most inclusive pro-Remain party that will go to Parliament and fight against the Brexit shambles which we have been subjected to over the past three years.
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"I have used my role as MEP to ensure we avoided a catastrophic no deal by working to secure the extensions required, illustrating its utter folly to those in positions of responsibility in the EU, articulating its consequences for these islands and the EU of the kind of Brexit pursued by the Conservative Government and their partners in the DUP."

Ms Long continued: "As someone who held the position of East Belfast MP previously and who has lived here all my life, I know the constituency well and know the devastating impact Brexit has already had not only on major employers and small businesses, but also on the levels of fear and uncertainty right across our community. I know the devastating impact it will continue to have both here and wider across Northern Ireland.

"That's why I am standing in the General Election, to give a voice in Parliament to those who realise while a deal may be better than no deal, our best future - one which avoids barriers anywhere in these islands - is not delivered by Brexit but by remaining in the heart of the EU, playing a full and constructive role in shaping its future and ours in cooperation with our nearest neighbours and partners."

Meanwhile, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood is to challenge Sinn Fein's seat in L'Derry while the UUP has stood aside in North Belfast and DUP said they won't stand in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.


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