Local Labour Party planning to field candidates in Northern Ireland
Labour Party members in Northern Ireland are to make preparations to stand in future elections.
The Labour Party leadership has long refused to field candidates in Northern Ireland, citing a reluctance to compete with sister socialist party the SDLP.
But local Labours members opposed to the on-going ban on standing in elections have now agreed among themselves to prepare to go to the polls.
They said they would now "engage" with the Labour leadership and National Executive on their plans. The next scheduled election in Northern Ireland is the Stormont Assembly poll next year.
A motion on preparing to contest elections in Northern Ireland "at the earliest date at which it is appropriate to do so" was backed unanimously by around 100 party members at a meeting in Belfast.
The motion instructs the regional executive committee to "prepare and train" members who would be suitable candidates; establish a fighting fund to pay for offices and staff; and prepare "a political programme to put to the electorate".
It also commits to "alert the National Executive (NEC) and the Party leadership to the evolving political situation in Northern Ireland and engage with them in the process of promoting Labour's challenge to the sectarian status quo."
Boyd Black, secretary of the Constituency Labour Party of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI), said: "The overwhelming feeling of the members of LPNI was that the people of Northern Ireland are crying out for a credible alternative to the sectarian silos of Northern Ireland politics.
"We are asking all members who have an interest in being considered by a candidates' panel to submit their details in writing as soon as possible.
"Time is short, but it is always the right time to do the right thing - in this case to let the voice of Labour be heard."