| 4.9°C Belfast

Green Party deputy chief leaving post to study law

Tanya Jones

The deputy leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland (GPNI) has announced she plans to resign after just eight months in the post.

Tanya Jones said she wanted to return to higher education.

In a speech to her party conference at the weekend, Ms Jones said she planned to quit later this year.

"In September I'm planning to join the substantial GPNI diaspora in Scotland and begin a master's degree in environmental law at the University of Dundee," she explained.

"Where that will lead me, I don't yet know. I hope it'll be back here. This is home now, and there's certainly plenty to be done."

Ms Jones became deputy leader last October after Claire Bailey, the party's South Belfast MLA, stepped down following three years in the role.

The former solicitor, originally from Fermanagh, stood as a candidate for the Greens in Fermanagh and South Tyrone for Westminster elections in 2015 and 2017, and in the Assembly elections in 2016 and 2017. Her vote ranged from a 0.8% share in the 2017 Westminster poll to a 1.9% share in the 2016 Assembly election.

In a statement yesterday, she said: "My Green Party colleagues and I haven't yet discussed the details of when and how I will stand down, but I would expect that to be permanent, to give my successor the maximum opportunity to make the role their own.

"It's been a wonderful chance for me to get to know more of our great and growing Green Party membership and to raise awareness of the issues I care most about.

"I hope that by standing I have been able to raise some of the really important issues that affect us all and will impact on future generations more and more.

"I'm especially grateful to the local media for making our voice heard, a quiet voice of long-term common sense amidst the clamour of confrontation."

Belfast Telegraph