Northern Ireland news

Former SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon not returning to politics

Former SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has ruled out a return to politics. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Allan Preston

THE former SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has ruled out a return to politics after losing her seat earlier this year, it has been reported.

With a high profile role as infrastructure minister and a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, the loss of her north Belfast assembly seat was one of the big political upsets in the May election.

With the clock ticking on a Friday deadline for Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris to call a fresh election, the BBC reported that Ms Mallon would not be in the running.

An SDLP spokesperson would only say: “In the event of an assembly election the SDLP will confirm our candidates in due course.”

Speaking after losing her seat in May, Ms Mallon had said: "It has been a privilege to serve the people of north Belfast as a councillor and then a MLA for the past 12 years. I want to thank every single person who came out to vote for me over that time. Time for a new chapter."

Mr Heaton-Harris is legally obligated to call a new election by midnight on Friday, which would likely trigger a fresh vote in December.

He repeated calls for the DUP to reform powersharing at Stormont, but the party has maintained they will not change unless their demands over the Northern Ireland Protocol are met.

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker has also claimed there will be no devolved government at Stormont until the "legitimate interest" of unionists to end the jurisdiction of EU law in Northern Ireland takes place.

Northern Ireland news