Belfast Telegraph

Hoey rules out standing against Gildernew

Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

Pro-Brexit Labour MP Kate Hoey has dismissed speculation that she might run as a unionist unity candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

She had been mentioned as a possible challenger to Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew, who won the seat by 875 votes from Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott in 2017. The seat has switched several times between the UUP and Sinn Fein.

Ms Hoey said yesterday that suggestions she would be a unionist unity candidate in the constituency were "complete and utter nonsense" and "absolutely ridiculous".

Mr Elliott said that he would decide whether or not to put his name forward when a general election was called.

Ms Hoey has said she will not be seeking re-election as Labour MP for Vauxhall which she has represented for 30 years.

The Northern Ireland-born politician has not ruled out running for the Brexit Party.

The 2017 election saw Ms Gildernew secure 25,230 votes to her rival's 24,355 in the constituency which elected IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in 1981.

In 2015, Mr Elliott had been a surprise victor, winning the seat from Ms Gildernew by 530 votes. A pact had been agreed between the two unionist parties with the DUP standing aside.

In 2010, the Sinn Fein MP won by just four votes.

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