Nichola Mallon named SDLP deputy leader
NORTH Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon has been named deputy leader of the SDLP after being unanimously endorsed for the role by the party's Parliamentary Assembly Group.
The one-time adviser to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan rose to prominance in 2014 as lord mayor of Belfast.
In May this year, it was announced Ms Mallon would not be standing in the Westminster election for the North Belfast seat as she was due to give birth to her second daughter at around the same time as the poll.
Speaking after her election, Ms Mallon said: "This is a critical moment for our politics.
“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 said: “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."
The party's last deputy leader was Fearghal McKinney who lost his South Belfast seat last year.
He was appointed deputy in November 2015 but the former UTV broadcaster lost his seat in one of the toughest constituency battles of the 2016 assembly elections.