Political news

Greens slam pact criticism from Alliance MLA who ran for UUP-Conservatives

Paula Bradshaw's election literature for Alliance, left, and her election poster for the Conservatives and Unionists in 2010
Brendan Hughes

THE Green Party has hit out at an Alliance candidate for criticising electoral pacts despite previously seeking election under a joint UUP-Conservative ticket.

Paula Bradshaw's campaign literature urges voters to "say no to sectarian pacts", adding that "only Alliance has put principles before pacts".

Alliance last week slammed the Greens as "tainted" for taking part in discussions with nationalist parties about a possible 'anti-Brexit pact'.

The Greens at the time said they were disappointed that Alliance had refused to consider the proposal.

The parties have now clashed again over Ms Bradshaw's election material in South Belfast, where the Greens are running Clare Bailey as a candidate.

In 2010 Ms Bradshaw stood for election to Westminster as part of Ulster Conservatives and Unionists New Force (UCUNF) – an electoral pact between the Tories and UUP – before later that year joining Alliance.

Ms Bailey said: "It's disingenuous for the same candidate to present herself as progressive and anti-pact now.

"Theresa May's hard Brexit and the Tory austerity agenda will damage the very fabric of diverse south Belfast communities. I haven't wavered in my progressive political outlook and will work towards protecting the most vulnerable in our society."

However, an Alliance spokesman said Ms Bradshaw joined Alliance because "she recognised the party was best placed to deliver the positive, progressive change which Northern Ireland needs".

"South Belfast has strongly endorsed that view at each subsequent election, making her the only socially progressive, pro-Remain candidate capable of winning the Westminster seat.

"The Alliance policy on electoral pacts is clear – elections are the opportunity for voters, not politicians, to decide who represents them."

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