Belfast Telegraph

Naomi Long joins race to be Northern Ireland MEP

Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)
Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)
Colum Eastwood

Alliance leader Naomi Long has confirmed she will stand for election for the European parliament, as the Belfast Telegraph revealed this week.

The MLA has been touted as a potential to run in the poll and on Thursday confirmed she would be the on the ticket for the May 23 poll submitting her nomination papers in Belfast.

Launching her campaign she said she backed a "People's Vote" on Brexit.

“I am passionate about the EU and the enormous benefits it has brought not only to us in Northern Ireland, but also right across these islands and more widely across Europe over many decades.

"Maintaining stability, co-operation and collaboration at that level is absolutely vital to our future," she said.

The East Belfast representative said the "chaos and uncertainty" created by Brexit has impacted "every aspect of life here, including our economy, our community and our political situation.

"People have felt badly let down in the 2016 Referendum and since, and Parliament has now reached an impasse," she said.

“The best and potentially only way through this crisis is to put Brexit back to the people. Alliance supports a People's Vote, crucially including the option to Remain. A vote for Alliance in this election is the best way to send a clear message we want that new referendum.

“We have been clear from the outset Brexit is not and must not become an orange versus green issue – it affects us all. Alliance is best placed to unite people from all parts of our community together to resolve this divisive issue.

“It is vitally important we have a strong liberal, cross-community and pro-European voice representing people for the lifetime of this European Parliament, however long that might be. Alliance is that voice and so I am asking people for their support to represent them in Europe at this crucial time.”

Earlier on Thursday SDLP leader Colum Eastwood confirmed he would also be contesting the poll.

Explaining his decision he said it was a "unique election".

He said: "We have now a very clear opportunity to send a very clear message to the people of London and Brussels that the people of Northern Ireland do not want to leave the European Union and at the very least protected  from a hard border."

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