Belfast Telegraph

SDLP and Alliance select Hanna and Bradshaw as South Belfast general election candidates

Claire Hanna
Claire Hanna

Claire Hanna has been selected to run for the SDLP in South Belfast for the widely anticipated forthcoming election.

Claire Hanna has been selected to run for the SDLP in South Belfast for the widely anticipated forthcoming election.

As reported by the Belfast Telegraph, former party leader and the previous MP for the constituency Dr Alasdair McDonnell withdrew from the race ahead of Wednesday night's selection meeting.

He said a single remain candidate could oust the incumbent Brexiteer Emma Little Pengelly.

However, Alliance named MLA Paula Bradshaw as its candidate later on Wednesday.

The SDLP said Ms Hanna was unanimously endorsed at a meeting at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Carryduff.

She was elected as an SDLP MLA in 2015. She resigned the SDLP whip in February following the party's link-up with Fianna Fail.

She also stepped down as its Brexit spokesperson but has continued to be a party member.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and deputy leader Nichola Mallon have endorsed Ms Hanna as the candidate "best able to secure a pro-Remain seat in South Belfast in a critical election for Northern Ireland’s future and the Brexit outcome," the party said.

Ms Hanna added: “Any forthcoming general election will be one of the most important polls since the Good Friday Agreement.

Paula Bradshaw
Paula Bradshaw

"It will not be about orange or green or other, but rather about Northern Ireland’s voice in the biggest challenge to our collective peace and prosperity in many years.

“South Belfast is my home, and I am acutely aware of the damage a reckless no-deal Brexit would cause in our rich and diverse communities who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union."

She continued: "For the last two years, our vibrant, welcoming, pro-Europe community has been represented by an MP who is pursuing a hard Brexit strategy, including supporting the suspension of Parliament at a time when our voices need to be heard most.

“This election comes down to a very simple decision about who the people of South Belfast believe is best placed to be a strong and passionate pro-European voice for them.

"I am delighted that the SDLP members in South Belfast have endorsed me as the person to lead that broad coalition of Remain voices.”

The DUP's Emma Little Pengelly was elected in 2017. A snap election could be held in mid to late November.

Following her nomination Alliance's Paula Bradshaw said she was best placed to take the seat from the DUP.

"We have double the elected representation of any other remain party [in the constituency].

“This cannot be a tired old nationalist versus unionist election. This election must be united community against Brexit. That is exactly why I designate "united community" in the Assembly.

“I will also be standing on the Alliance Party reputation for hard work and delivery right across the constituency. On issues ranging from the availability of cancer drugs to HPV vaccines, the Alliance Party in South Belfast has shown an ability not just to talk about things, but to get things done, which have a real impact on people’s daily lives."

She added: "“South Belfast is also an overwhelmingly remain constituency which is why it swung so heavily behind Alliance at the European Elections.

"The choice before the public is simple. If they simply do the same the same thing they did in May and vote Alliance, they will elect a United Community Remain MP representative of the whole constituency.”

Alliance Leader Naomi Long added:“It was clear in May that Alliance has a unique ability to reach across the community, and that by voting Alliance you can get people elected at all levels to represent your views.

“I want to tell people in South Belfast that there can be no better person to do that than Paula Bradshaw. You have seen how hard she has worked and the real change she has delivered, even without a sitting Assembly, putting shoe leather on the ground and getting your problems solved.

“With Paula’s focus on detail and her expertise in all areas relevant to Brexit, and two decades’ worth of work in and for the community covering the key regulations and funding which will be affected by our future relationship with the EU, I am saying to the people of South Belfast there can be no better person to represent you and to turn up and ensure your interests are protected."

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