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Conservatives to contest less than half of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies

Clare Salier, a Conservative councillor on Wandsworth Council in south London, is attempting to become the next South Belfast MP. Picture from Wandsworth Council

THE Conservative Party will contest less than half of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies in next month's Westminster election.

The party has selected candidates for seven constituencies.

At the last Westminster election in 2015, it stood candidates in all but two constituencies across the north.

Of the seven candidates being put forward, two are currently sitting councillors in England.

Bristol City councillor Claire Hiscott is standing in Strangford, while Clare Salier, who enters a crowded race to become the next South Belfast MP, is a councillor on Wandsworth Council in south London.

Liz St Clair-Legge, who works for the Conservative Women's Organisation in London, will stand in East Derry, where she received 422 votes two years ago.

The remaining four candidates all contested the most recent Assembly election, with Frank Shivers in North Down and Sheila Bodel in East Belfast standing in the same constituencies again.

Mark Logan was the party's South Antrim candidate in March but will instead run in East Antrim, while Ian Nickels, who stood in Upper Bann in the last two Assembly elections, switches to contest Lagan Valley.

In the 2015 Westminster election, fewer than a third of the party's 16 candidates lived in the north, with 11 brought in from England and Scotland.

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