SDLP Mid-Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has been selected as the party’s candidate for the Mid-Ulster Westminster by-election.
Mr McGlone will contest the seat against Sinn Fein’s Francie Molloy who stands in for his party colleague and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. It has also been suggested Victims’ Campaigner Willie Frazer may stand.
Martin McGuinness held the seat since 1997 but stepped down in line with his party’s policy against double jobbing.
Addressing party members after his selection at the Central Inn in Cookstown, Mr McGlone said: “It is always an honour to stand as a candidate under the great name and tradition of the SDLP; a party that has always stood up for what is right and has always stood up for the people.
“While the sectarian agenda politics has been shoved to the front and centre of the media by the extremist blocks of our political community in recent weeks and months, the SDLP will not allow the real agenda of Jobs and the Economy to be ignored. We stand firmly together in this election, for jobs, for welfare and against the menace of militancy that threatens democracy in this land.
“As a proud Constitutional Irish Republican, and one who stands for an Ireland united in accommodation and respect, I will not run away from representing Mid-Ulster where and when I have to.
“We stand in this election, as we do in every election, to fight for the people of Mid-Ulster, for fairness and social justice, to provide a voice for those who need support, and to defend the most vulnerable”.
Speaking after the selection convention, Party Leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said: “Patsy McGlone has dedicated a life to public service and fighting for the rights and benefit of the people of Mid-Ulster.
“Now, Patsy offers Mid Ulster a New Deal – taking the battle to Westminster to fight for control of our own economic destiny so we can deliver sustainable jobs, grow the local private sector, protect public services and, for the first time in over 15 years, promising a strong Irish voice as MP for Mid-Ulster.”