Belfast Telegraph

Alliance leader Naomi Long says next election could be Ulster Unionist 'Swann Song'

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long

June's General Election could be the 'Swann Song' for the Ulster Unionist Party, Naomi Long has said.

The Alliance Party leader took to Twitter to criticise the UUP, after its own leader, Robin Swann, announced it would not contest three constituencies.

"Taking their voters for granted like this is one reason why the UUP have one MLA left in Belfast. This election could be UUP Swann-song," she said.

Mr Swann said the party will not run in North Belfast, West Belfast or Foyle.

Meanwhile, the party confirmed former leader Tom Elliott will run for the Fermanagh & South Tyrone seat, and Danny Kinahan will once again run in South Antrim.

Following a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast on Saturday, Ulster Unionist Party leader, Robin Swann MLA, said:

"The General Election has been called and we have moved quickly to put Ulster Unionist Party candidates in the strongest possible position in advance of the General Election on June 8.

"Today, we have ratified Tom Elliott as our Westminster candidate in Fermanagh & South Tyrone and Danny Kinahan as our candidate in South Antrim. Both Tom and Danny have shown what a difference two Ulster Unionist MPs can make in Westminster. I want to see Tom and Danny returned to Westminster alongside other colleagues.

"For the purposes of this General Election, and only this election, we have also taken the unilateral decision to withdraw from the constituencies of North Belfast, West Belfast and Foyle."

Meanwhile, former Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt could make a pitch for a Westminster seat, according to senior party sources.

In a surprise move, the UUP is considering running Mr Nesbitt in South Belfast and moving Danny Kennedy to Upper Bann.

Party insiders said they believed that their former leader would be a "very credible candidate" in South Belfast who would strongly appeal to both unionist and non-unionist voters.

Mr Nesbitt lives just outside the constituency, which is regarded as the most liberal in Northern Ireland.

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