Nichola Mallon elected new SDLP deputy leader

Nichola Mallon is the new deputy leader of the SDLP
Nichola Mallon is the new deputy leader of the SDLP

North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon has been elected SDLP deputy leader.

The 38-year-old former Lord Mayor of Belfast was endorsed by the SDLP's Parliamentary Assembly Group and is expected to be ratified at the party's annual general meeting next month.

“This is a critical moment for our politics," she said.

“The challenge we all face is to forge a society based on a positive accommodation of difference and diversity.

“That challenge is made all the more important following the Brexit Bill vote last night.

“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to step up and take on that work within the SDLP and with political parties and civic society across this island.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood added: “Nichola’s unyielding compassion and fierce commitment to social justice and defending the rights of the most vulnerable in our society has made her an outstanding public representative. I have no doubt that she will serve the party well as our new deputy leader.

“As we enter a period of immense instability on the island and across this continent, there will be an inevitable shift in politics. More than ever, we have to be outward looking, we have to be open to the changes on this island and open to its opportunity. I have given Nichola special responsibility to undertake that work on behalf of the SDLP.

“The party is incredibly proud that Nichola is stepping up to this new leadership role."