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Jeremy Corbyn's stance on Northern Ireland election candidates 'unhelpful', says Labour activists

Northern Ireland Labour Party activists have described Jeremy Corbyn's comments over running candidates in a local election as "unhelpful".

Mr Crobyn has resisted calls from party members to allow them to run in Northern Ireland elections.

In an interview with the BBC, he said it would be "extremely unlikely" that there would be official Labour candidates if an election was called.

The current political crisis looks set to lead to a March election.

Asked why the party had delayed its decision on Northern Ireland candidates, Mr Corbyn said: "Four months ago we were just coming towards the end of the leadership campaign of the Labour Party. The national executive of the party will no doubt be discussing this matter. It has not be discussed since then."

Labour leader also said he was concerned about the political make up of a smaller Stormont following the next election. In the next vote 90 MLAs will be elected as opposed to the current 108.

Mr Corbyn said the reduction could lead to the assembly being "less diverse in its political representation".

In a statement Labour Party NI said: "This comment is unhelpful.  It is also not surprising, as the promised official review by the party’s National Executive Committee has been disgracefully delayed, in part by last year’s party leadership election.

"Since it is the NEC that will make the decision about us fighting elections (albeit with a major input from Jeremy), this decision is ‘unlikely’ to be made until after the formal review of our position is completed, which will be after the Assembly elections.

"This means the public are once again denied the opportunity to vote for an anti-sectarian party which offers an alternative way forward to the failed status quo."

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