SDLP is returning to growth: Eastwood

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood at the SDLP manifesto launch at Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood at the SDLP manifesto launch at Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey

The SDLP has been “reinvigorated” by its election result, party leader Colum Eastwood has claimed.

With 12 MLAs elected and 12,000 more first preference votes than last time, Mr Eastwood said: “The party has now arrested the period of decline and is returning to growth.

“This is the first time since 1998 that we have recorded gains. The SDLP is on the move.”

Mr Eastwood also paid tribute to his unionist counterpart Mike Nesbitt, who said on Friday he will quit as leader of the UUP.

“I want to acknowledge the bravery and the humility demonstrated by Mike Nesbitt during this election campaign... I want to assure him of my very best wishes,” said Mr Eastwood.