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MP in Sinn Fein conference first

Labour's shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will become the first senior British politician to attend a Sinn Fein party conference this weekend.

Vernon Coaker, who has attended DUP, Alliance and SDLP conferences and hosted the UUP at Labour’s conference, said it was a vital part of his job to engage with all parties in Northern Ireland.

“I have a good relationship with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and have worked with him and Sinn Fein to continue to build peace and progress in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Coaker, who will address the ard fheis.

“In this week that marks the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it's an example of how far we have come in Northern Ireland when I, as Shadow Secretary of State, am attending the Sinn Fein ard fheis.”

The Labour MP is expected to have a private breakfast meeting with Declan Kearney, the Sinn Fein chairperson, and other senior Sinn Fein figures on this morning.

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