European election: Former Women’s Coalition leader Jane Morrice launches campaign

Jane Morrice launches her European election campaign at the MAC arts centre in Belfast
Jane Morrice launches her European election campaign at the MAC arts centre in Belfast

Several former members of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition have come together to back one of its best-known faces in the European elections.

Jane Morrice, a one-time deputy speaker of the Stormont Assembly, is hoping to secure one of the Province’s three seats in the expected poll later this month.

Baroness May Blood, another high-profile member of the cross-community political party that emerged during the peace process and organised for a decade, endorsed Ms Morrice’s candidature at a launch event in Belfast, while others associated with the Women’s Coalition joined the audience in the MAC arts centre.

While the DUP and Sinn Fein look certain to retain their European seats, there could be a fierce battle for the third berth in Brussels, currently held by the Ulster Unionist Party.

Ms Morrice, a former journalist from Bangor, Co Down, and ex-head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland, is one of a number of pro-Remain candidates vying for the seat.

She has promised a campaign without election posters, instead opting to spread her message via social media.

“I am operating on a shoestring and I’m flying by the seat of my pants and I am now ready to get this show on the road,” she told the audience at the launch event.

Ms Morrice said her opposition to Brexit was her primary reason for running.

“It’s brought the fire back to my belly,” she said.

“I profoundly believe that Brexit poses the most serious threat to political, economic and social stability in Northern Ireland and I feel it’s my duty to stand against it.”

“Brexit ... slams the door in the face of opportunity for our younger people to work, to study, to live and learn from a European civilisation that is part of our very being, our essence.”