Northern Ireland

Alliance leader Naomi Long confirms she will contest East Belfast election seat

Ms Long will challenge DUP interim leader for the seat which she previously held from 2010 to 2015.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (Neil Harrison/PA)

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has confirmed she will run in the General Election in the East Belfast constituency.

Ms Long will challenge interim DUP leader Gavin Robinson for the seat that he has held since 2015.

Previously Ms Long held the seat from 2010 to 2015 after historically defeating former DUP leader Peter Robinson.

At the last general election in 2019, Ms Long was just under 2,000 votes behind Mr Robinson.

The current Stormont justice minister described the July 4 poll as an opportunity for her party to return a number of MPs.

DUP interim leader Gavin Robinson
DUP interim leader Gavin Robinson (Liam McBurney/PA)

It is understood that she plans to remain in post as minister during the election campaign.

In a statement, Ms Long said: “It is always an honour to be the East Belfast candidate in any election, and this time, Alliance has a real opportunity to return several MPs and send a message that as a society we are moving forward beyond traditional divides to seek the best outcomes for everyone.”

Alliance is hoping its sole current MP, Stephen Farry, will be able to defend his North Down seat, and the party is also aiming for gains in other constituencies.

Ms Long said: “Both in East Belfast, and across Northern Ireland, we have an opportunity to choose a brighter, more positive politics, focused on growing a dynamic, sustainable economy, delivering fair funding for public services through the block grant, and ending political instability by reforming our institutions to remove vetoes.

“That’s what my colleagues and I are offering voters – their votes plus our commitment adds up to a better future.

“Whilst others are already focused on constitutional fear-mongering and division, Alliance is focused on issues such as health, education, the economy, climate, and the cost of living, seeking practical and innovative ways to improve people’s lives.

“If the people of East Belfast elect me as their MP on July 4, I am committed to leading that change at Westminster.”