Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew says nationalists who take Westminster seats on 'wrong side of Team Ireland'

The official launch of Sinn Fein’s General Election candidates
The official launch of Sinn Fein’s General Election candidates

By Gillian Halliday

A Sinn Fein candidate standing in a swing constituency has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at the SDLP's policy of taking their seats at Westminster.

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Michelle Gildernew, who is up against the UUP's Tom Elliott in the knife-edge Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency, praised her party's abstentionist position at the party's official General Election launch in Belfast yesterday.

She said Sinn Fein had a strong record in voicing the position of Northern Ireland's Remain supporters, adding: "We have done all this without sitting on the green benches of Westminster."

Appearing to take a swipe at the SDLP, the candidate insisted that those who take their seat at Westminster are on the "wrong side" of "Team Ireland".

"Ireland's interests never have and never will be served by the British Parliament and no matter how well meaning those who enter the British Parliament are, in reality, they're joining the wrong team. And whatever their intent, they're on the wrong side of the negotiations table for Team Ireland," she said.

Meanwhile, John Finucane, who is set to benefit after the SDLP withdrew from North Belfast, said the election gives voters the chance to show Brexiteer incumbent Nigel Dodds "the door".

"For many this election is about Remain against Leave... In the years ahead, I am confident that I will join our stellar Westminster team as another proudly progressive, pro-Remain voice for North Belfast," said Mr Finucane, whose nomination papers were signed by his mother Geraldine and by Cliftonville record goalscorer Joe Gormley.

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"By standing aside in certain constituencies, and co-operating to reject the DUP, and deliver the maximum number of pro-Remain candidates, political parties across the north recognise this fact," Mr Finucane added.

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