SDLP will not contest general election in three seats

Nichola Mallon

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SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon is an MLA in North Belfast

The SDLP will not be contesting the Westminster seat in North Belfast for the first time in the party’s history.

It is one of three constituencies which it will not to fight in a bid to secure the seat for pro-remain candidates.

The other two constituencies are East Belfast and North Down.

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon said the objective “must be to return as many pro-Remain MPs who will take their seats and vote to stop Brexit”.

The North Belfast MLA added her party “must also seek to weaken those who have cast the interests of Northern Ireland aside for five minutes of influence with a Tory Government that has been bad for our communities”.

Ms Mallon said that meant “removing pro-Brexit, Pro-Boris DUP MPs where possible”.

The SDLP is not the only party which has decided not to stand for election in North Belfast.

On Sunday, the Ulster Unionist Party confirmed it will not field a candidate in the constituency where the choice was the sitting DUP MP Nigel Dodds or “an abstentionist MP” from Sinn Féin.

UUP leader-elect Steve Aiken had initially ruled out a DUP election pact but later came under pressure from high-profile unionists who said the UUP must avoid splitting the unionist vote in North Belfast.

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