Belfast Telegraph

SDLP 'willing to consider' pro-Remain pact in bid to unseat DUP

Dolores Kelly
Dolores Kelly
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

An SDLP MLA has suggested that difficult decisions may have to be contemplated in a bid to reduce the DUP's influence at Westminster.

Dolores Kelly indicated the party would be willing "to consider the uncomfortable if other pro-Remain parties were prepared to do the same".

It comes after Sinn Fein called for all pro-Remain parties to "positively explore co-operation".

Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion issued the challenge, saying "unseating DUP Brexiteers should be the focus" ahead of an expected general election.

"The DUP are acting as cheerleaders for a hard Tory Brexit that poses a massive economic and political threat to the island of Ireland," the Foyle MP said.

"In response to that threat, there is an onus on progressive and pro-Remain parties to do everything in our power to oppose that disastrous agenda.

"The pending Westminster election is our opportunity to do that and to once again show Dublin, London, Europe and the world that the DUP do not speak for the majority.

"Remain candidates could unseat DUP Brexiteers in a number of constituencies across the North and Sinn Fein has already been in contact with other parties to explore options and turn that possibility into a political reality.

"Unseating DUP Brexiteers should be the focus of this election."

Mrs Kelly, an MLA for Upper Bann, said her party would be willing to engage in talks if the circumstances presented themselves.

"Colum Eastwood has already agreed to engage with Green Party leader Clare Bailey about maximising the number of pro-Europe MPs that will vote against Boris Johnson and his no-deal Brexit plans," she said.

"We are prepared to work with pro-Remain parties and will consider the uncomfortable but other parties must be prepared to do the same."

DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said Sinn Fein begging for electoral pacts shows the party is running scared of the people.

"The DUP has formed pro-Union pacts in the past," he said.

"We want to see unionism working together. That's what our voters want.

"I support maximising the unionist vote. It's why we were able to secure 10 seats in 2017 and deliver £1bn for Northern Ireland.

"Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance Party have always condemned our pacts, which makes the pleading of Sinn Fein MPs for a pact all the more intriguing."

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