07/11/2019

General Election: No Green Party Candidates To Run In Belfast

Northern Ireland's Green Party will not stand any candidates in Belfast in the upcoming General Election.

Party leader Clare Bailey announced there will be no candidates in East, West and North Belfast after having previously confirmed they will stand aside in South Belfast.

Ms Bailey, an MLA for the area, opted not to run for a Westminster seat and instead urged voters to back the SDLP's Claire Hanna.

The constituency is expected to be a close race between Ms Hanna and the DUP's Emma Little-Pengelly.

Announcing the decision to stand aside across the city, Ms Bailey said the election is all about maximising the amount of pro-Remain MPs returned to Parliament.

"These are extraordinary times and require an extraordinary response," she said.

"The Green Party NI achieved our best ever vote across the city of Belfast in the local government election earlier this year. However, I'm prepared to put the need to have pro-Remain MPs returned ahead of party interest.
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"The realities of the first-past-the-post system and the threat posed to our way of life by Brexit means that we must do everything possible to maximise the pro-Remain vote.

"People want us to act to maximise the pro-Remain voice and that's what we're doing right across Belfast in our decision not to stand candidates."

As voters prepare to cast their ballot on December 12, the unusual Christmas election has become one of Brexit-orientated cross-party pacts and arrangements.

The DUP will not run in Fermanagh and South Tyrone to make way for the UUP's Tom Elliott in a potential bid to unseat Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew, however Mr Elliott is yet to confirm whether he will run again. Ulster Unionist leader-elect Steve Aiken also confirmed his party will not field a candidate in North Belfast to prevent splitting votes for the DUP's Nigel Dodds as he defends his seat from Sinn Fein's John Finucane.

Meanwhile, the SDLP is to stand aside in three constituencies: North Down, North Belfast and East Belfast, while Sinn Fein will not field Westminster candidates in East Belfast, South Belfast and North Down.

A further development on Wednesday evening saw Lady Sylvia Hermon announced she is to stand down after 18 years as an MP, with candidates for the area still to be confirmed.



(JG/CM)

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