Belfast Telegraph

McDevitt bids for SDLP leadership

SDLP leadership contender Conall McDevitt pledged to deliver more transparency at Stormont as he officially launched his campaign for the job.

The South Belfast MLA also expressed his desire to unite his party under his stewardship.

Mr McDevitt, 39, is one of four in line for the post being vacated by Margaret Ritchie.

Alasdair McDonnell, Alex Attwood and Patsy McGlone are also in the race, which will be decided at the party conference in November.

Launching his campaign in Belfast, Mr McDevitt said: "I want to lead the SDLP into the next election offering voters compelling reasons to put us back at the heart of regional and national politics.

"We will show all those who have become disconnected from us or disillusioned with politics, that the SDLP can again deliver for them. On the issues that matter most to people, the SDLP will once again lead the way.

"And we won't just appeal to them with rhetoric. We will show that we can actually deliver for people across Northern Ireland on the issues that affect their lives. We may have stable government, but it is also stagnant and, sadly, incapable of taking the big decisions.

"The current Executive has been unable to address the crises in our health service, our economy and our education system. The SDLP has strong ideas on all these vital issues. We have to develop a new system of government - one that ensures parties will be working together in the public's best interests, not their own.

"If I become leader, I will lead our party into the Assembly and Executive review early next year by arguing the case for reform of our institutions and to agree a more accountable and open system of government.

"We will protect the important principles of equality and power sharing, but show people how real change can be delivered by providing them with real choice. With a reformed party of political activists working at a local level across the North, we will fight for the interests of those who feel let down by the current Executive."

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