Sinn Fein has attacked the SDLP for running candidates in constituencies “they haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning”, as relations between the two nationalist parties deteriorate further.
John O’Dowd MLA accused the SDLP of entering “spoiler candidates” in next month’s General Election after the party rejected a call by Sinn Fein to stand aside in two constituencies.
He said they should “re-appraise their spoiler attitude.”
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he was not interested in standing aside for a political party that will not take their seats in Westminster to vote against Brexit and Tory cuts.
However, Mr O’Dowd hit back, saying the SDLP’s attendance at Westminster does not make any difference.
“The SDLP have been taking their seats at Westminster for decades and they still cannot point to any situation where they have affected substantial change to the British governments policies in the North.
“Indeed, they failed to safeguard the interests of the north at Westminster during the Brexit debate,” said Mr O’Dowd.
He accused the SDLP of entering spoiler candidates in North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
Mr O’Dowd said these were constituencies the SDLP “know they haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the seat”.
Relations between the two parties deteriorated after Sinn Fein’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said the SDLP should “do the right thing” and not field candidates in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and North Belfast.
But Mr Eastwood said: “We’re not interested in standing aside for a political party that won’t even take their seats to go and vote against Brexit, to go and vote against Tory cuts or to do any of that.”