SDLP selects Claire Hanna as South Belfast general election candidate as former leader Alasdair McDonnell steps aside

Claire Hanna has been nominated by her party to run as South Belfast Westminster nomination

FORMER SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell has stepped aside to let party colleague Claire Hanna run as the South Belfast candidate in the next Westminster election.

The current MP for the area is the DUP's Emma Little Pengelly, who won the seat with a majority of 2000 in 2017.

Ms Hanna has has been put forward by the SDLP, despite her resigning the whip earlier this year in protest at her party's link up with Fianna Fail.

Elected four years ago as an Assembly member, Ms Hanna has been high-profile as the party's former Brexit spokesperson.

Dr McDonnell said he was fully supporting his party colleague's bid to become the next South Belfast MP and called for "smaller parties" to stand aside in the constituency in favour of a single Remain candidate.

The Alliance Party has nominated Paula Bradshaw in a constituency where 69.5 per cent voted to remain in the EU Brexit referendum.

It is understood Sinn Féin will not be announcing its candidate until later this month.

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