Northern Ireland news

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood quitting politics following party's link up with Fianna Fáil

Tim Attwood last night said he would not contest the next local government election. Picture by Ann McManus

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood last night said he was quitting politics just weeks after his party's link up with Fianna Fáil.

The west Belfast representative said he was "not an advocate of the SDLP and FF partnership" and would not be seeking election in the forthcoming local government election.

"I have decided that I cannot stand electorally for the party but will remain a member of the SDLP," he said.

It comes just weeks after SDLP members voted to back a new partnership with Fianna Fáil with 70 per cent of delegates supporting the link-up.

SDLP assembly member Claire Hanna quit as the party's Brexit spokesperson in protest at the partnership and said she would no longer go to SDLP group MLA meetings.

Ian Knox cartoon 22/2/19: The “Three Amigos” join the “Magnificent Seven” in disagreement with their respective party leaders. The “Terrible Two” have yet to move 

Mr Attwood said he respected the outcome of the vote on the partnership and the will of his party's members.

But he said his politics remained rooted in the social democratic and labour tradition embodied by the SDLP.

"I have the greatest respect for the leadership of the SDLP and recognise that in a post-conflict situation there is a natural and wider debate about political realignment on this island," he said.

"The reality is my politics remains steadfastly rooted in the social democratic and labour tradition embodied by the SDLP and parties of the Party of European Socialists."

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