Three candidates set to nominate themselves for NI seats in Europe
Outgoing Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and TUV leader Jim Allister will hand in their nominations in Belfast.
The final candidates for Northern Ireland’s three seats in the European Parliament are set to nominate themselves later.
Hours before nominations close, outgoing MEP Martina Anderson (Sinn Fein) will submit her papers in Belfast.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and TUV leader Jim Allister are also expected to submit their nominations on Thursday.
Next month’s poll comes as the UK Government remains unable to agree a deal to leave the European Union.
UK voters electing a fresh batch of MEPs this year had not been planned after the nation voted in 2016 to leave the trading bloc.
However, elections to the European Parliament are proceeding after London and European Council agreed to delay Brexit.
Northern Ireland’s three seats in Brussels have historically been divided between the DUP, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists.
Ms Anderson and outgoing DUP MEP Diane Dodds will run again, while veteran Ulster Unionist Jim Nicholson is stepping aside after decades in the European Parliament.
Mr Allister previously served as an MEP from 2004-2007, initially elected for the DUParty before leaving to form TUV in 2007.
The ardent Brexiteer blasted the delays around the UK leaving the EU, some three years after the 2016 referendum vote, and described the UK electing MEPs in 2019 as “shameful”.
“We have arrived at this travesty and wider betrayal of Brexit by reason of the combination of the abysmal weakness of Mrs May and the bully boy tactics of the EU,” he said.
“Brexiteers must fight this election to win. That is why I have nominated to be a candidate in these elections.”
Voters in the UK will go to the polls next month on May 23.
The candidates running for Northern Ireland’s three seats in the European Parliament are Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson, the DUP’s Diane Dodds, Danny Kennedy (Ulster Unionist Party), Colum Eastwood (SDLP), Naomi Long (Alliance), Jim Allister (TUV), Clare Bailey (Green Party), Amandeep Singh Bhogal (Conservative and Unionist Party), Robert Hill (UKIP), Neil Patrick McCann (Independent) and Jane Morrice (Independent).