General Election: No Green Party candidates to stand in Belfast
Northern Ireland's Green Party will not stand any candidates in Belfast in the upcoming General Election.
Election & Brexit briefing Newsletter
Leader Claire Bailey confirmed on Thursday there would be no candidates in East, West and North Belfast, having confirmed earlier this week she would not be a candidate in South Belfast.
MLA Ms Bailey instead urged her supporters to back the SDLP’s Claire Hanna.
South Belfast is expected to be a close race between Ms Hanna and DUP incumbent Emma Little-Pengelly.
Clare Bailey MLA said: "This election is all about returning as many pro-Remain MPs as possible.
"These are extraordinary times and require an extraordinary response. The Green Party NI achieved our best ever vote across the city of Belfast in the local government election earlier this year.
"However, I’m prepared to put the need to have pro-Remain MPs returned ahead of party interest.
"The realities of the first-past-the-post system and the threat posed to our way of life by Brexit means that we must do everything possible to maximise the pro-Remain vote.
"People want us to act to maximise the pro-Remain voice and that’s what we’re doing right across Belfast."
Sinn Fein and the SDLP are stepping aside in three Northern Ireland constituencies in an attempt to unseat DUP candidates.
One of those constituencies is North Down, where both parties had been set to back Lady Sylvia Hermon, an independent unionist and a Remainer.
However, on Wednesday evening Lady Hermon announced she would not run for Parliament again, throwing this strategy into disarray.
As of Thursday morning, the Green Party NI had not indicated whether it would run in North Down.
Sinn Fein's deputy leader Michelle O'Neill welcomed the announcement from Northern Ireland's Green Garty that they would not field a candidate in any of the Belfast constituencies.
"Sinn Féin welcome this positive and constructive development from the Green Party," she said.
"It is a significant move to maximise the representation of pro-Remain and progressive candidates facing down DUP Brexiteers across Belfast."
Belfast Telegraph Digital