Leaving it tight in Lagan Valley…

Ciaran Barnes on the hole left by Patricia Lewsley’s resignation. He’s tipping Tim Attwood as a likely SDLP candidate (though Brian Heading’s name has also been touted). Although it remains subject to a constituency selection meeting in January. Sinn Fein has been targeting the recently built nationalist Lagmore Estate, where we understand that they have been working hard to make sure voter registration is high. The SDLP key to victory last time was transfers in from other parts of Lisburn. They may need a candidate with a significantly higher profile both there and across the constituency than either of the two so far mentioned, if they are to take that last seat again.

Update: Tonight the UUP chose three candidates: Billy Bell (sitting MLA), Basil McCrea (former Westminster candidate) and Ronnie Crawford. James Baird was the one successful candidate. The Association was persuaded that the geographic reach would help maximise the UU vote, and enable them to take an extra seat.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty