Belfast Telegraph

Naomi Long returns as East Belfast Alliance Assembly candidate

Naomi Long with husband Michael and their dog Daisy
Naomi Long with husband Michael and their dog Daisy
Naomi Long meeting Peter Robinson after ousting him in the Westminster election
Naomi Long as a four-year-old
Naomi Long as a one-year-old with parents Emily and James
Naomi Long on her wedding day
Alliance Party deputy leader Naomi Long

Naomi Long is to be the Alliance Party's Assembly candidate for East Belfast.

Ms Long will run alongside current East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle and councillor Tim Morrow.

The current MLAs for East Belfast are UUP Andy Allen, the DUP's Robin Newton, Sammy Douglas, Peter Robinson and Alliance's Judith Cochrane.

<< Read a full exclusive interview with Naomi Long in tomorrow's Belfast Telegraph >>

“I am delighted to have received this nomination on behalf of Alliance,” said Mrs Long.

“East Belfast has been my home all my life and I was truly honoured to have represented it for almost 15 years as a councillor, MLA and then MP.

“I am excited to have the chance to do that once again and I couldn’t have asked for better running mates – both Chris and Tim are experienced elected representatives and committed to delivering for everyone in East Belfast.”

“It is my privilege to serve the people of East Belfast and I believe passionately a strong Alliance team will help us to build the united community and strong economy we need to deliver for everyone and challenge the status quo,” said Mr Lyttle.

"I also want to pay tribute to my Assembly colleague Judith Cochrane, who decided some time ago to step down. Judith worked tirelessly on a wide range of issues for her constituents."

Councillor Morrow added: “There is no doubt East Belfast faces a number of challenges, which can only be overcome if we work together as a united community, focused on building for the future and creating stability.

“Voters have a chance to contribute to that by taking a step forward for peace, social inclusion and prosperity by voting Alliance in May.”

The party's deputy leader won the East Belfast Westminster seat in 2010 causing a great upset to former First Minister Peter Robinson who lost the seat he had previously held for 31 years.

Mrs Long, who is east Belfast born and bred, was a civil engineer before becoming an elected representative.

Last year the DUP's Gavin Robinson regained the East Belfast seat lost five years ago by its party leader, Peter Robinson.

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Ahead of the election Northern Ireland's two biggest unionist parties agreed a general election pact in four constituencies - including east Belfast.

Ms Long, who got 16,978 votes, described her term as MP as a "rollercoaster".

She said it had been a privilege and an honour to serve the people of East Belfast.

She was one of several Alliance members whose home and party premises were attacked in the months following the Union Flag city hall dispute.

It began shortly before Christmas 2012 when Alliance voted for the Union flag to be flown on designated days only at Belfast City Hall.

This was intended as a compromise between nationalists, who wanted it removed altogether, and unionists, who wanted it kept on permanent display.

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