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Labour's Boyd Black optimistic of lifting party's Northern Ireland election embargo

The Labour Party is reviewing its policy of not standing candidates in Northern Ireland

The secretary of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland believes there has never been a greater chance of fielding candidates in the region.

Boyd Black, who has been battling for nearly 40 years to get British-based Labour involved in the north's elections, said he is optimistic a review of its policy will yield a positive result.

The Labour Party in Northern Ireland has today taken out a full page ad in The Irish News calling for its larger sister party in Britain to break its long-standing embargo on allowing candidates to stand.

Mr Black said the regional party's membership has grown four-fold since 2012 and now stands at 1,200, with an additional 700 registered supporters across 12 branches.

"I've been involved in this campaign for nearly four decades and I believe we are in a better position today to overturn this ban than we have been at any time in the past," he said.

"There is a determination to win the right to run candidates and ultimately we will not be denied."

Mr Black said he did not know when Labour's national executive committee would complete its review but he hoped the outcome would pave the way for contesting the 2019 local government elections.

Previously the Labour flag in the north was carried by the affiliated but separate Northern Ireland Labour Party.

Since 2003, British Labour has allowed membership in the north but has not contested elections.

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