Peer welcomes Ritchie to Lords

Margaret Ritchie
Margaret Ritchie
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Lord Kilclooney has welcomed the elevation of former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie to the House of Lords.

Ms Ritchie has said she remains “SDLP to the core” despite the fact she has had to quit the party to become a peer. Ms Ritchie was leader of the SDLP between 2010 and 2011 and received a non-affiliated peerage in Theresa May’s resignation honours list.

Former UUP deputy leader Lord Kilclooney, a non-party cross bencher said: “I welcome the elevation of Margaret Ritchie to the House of Lords.

“Of course she is a united Irelander and so I fundamentally disagree with her. However when I was MP for Strangford I experienced at first hand how hard she worked as a public representative. Margaret’s arrival in the Upper House of Parliament can only be to the advantage of people right across Northern Ireland.”

The SDLP, which is opposed to members sitting in an unelected chamber, wished the former South Down MP well for the future.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Ritchie said she saw it as an opportunity to articulate alternative viewpoints in Westminster. Her party does not currently have any MPs and Sinn Fein does not take its seats in the Commons.