Belfast Telegraph

New Durkan aims for leader's seat

Mark Durkan could remain a familiar name at the Assembly despite the former SDLP leader's decision to step down, it has been revealed.

A party selection meeting is to take place in his Foyle constituency on Friday where his namesake Mark H Durkan is a frontrunner.

This comes as a veteran of the SDLP in Londonderry, Mary Bradley, announced her decision to stand down after 25 years as an elected representative.

Mrs Bradley's decision not to put her name forward for selection has meant younger colleagues Mark H Durkan, 32, and and Derry's 27-year-old mayor Colm Eastwood are in contention.

The meeting is aimed at selecting Foyle area candidates for next year's Assembly election, but one of the group will reach Stormont sooner than that.

The SDLP will choose one of the candidates to take on Mr Durkan's MLA seat until the end of the Assembly term. The Foyle MP has already announced his intention to concentrate on his Westminster role.

Mrs Bradley said: "For more than 25 years I have been very proud and honoured to have represented the people of Shantallow and the wider community of Foyle on behalf of the SDLP in Derry City Council and the Assembly," she said.

"However, I now feel it is time to hand over to the next generation of SDLP and I wish to announce my intention to retire from politics at the next election.

"When I first agreed to stand for the SDLP I said I would only do it for six months - that was 26 years ago. However, I have truly enjoyed my service throughout this time."

She praised the SDLP leaders she had served and thanked John Hume, Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie, plus other colleagues, for their support.

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