Patsy McGlone has been keeping his counsel to himself ever since ever since he was overlooked for the one Ministerial post open to them, but the SDLP’s deputy leader was not happy at being overlooked. Now the BBC is reporting speculation that Mr McGlone may declare his candidacy as early as next month.
Given his main rivals in Mid Ulster are all Sinn Fein and all have some formal status (DFM Martin McGuinness, Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, and the Speaker to be, Francie Molloy), he’s understood to feel that his being passed over sent the message that, in his own words in the wake of the election “beyond Glengormley, there is no place else”.
There have been whispers across the party about Margaret Ritchie’s leadership. She won a narrow but decisive victory over Alisdair McDonnell, but Mr McGlone may not the same polarising figure that the party’s south Belfast MP proved to be. And if the party is to make any kind of recovery, whomever leads the party after November will need not only to be able to unite the factions of the party, but also be able to give it some purpose in a settlement that gives very little power or influence to any second or third placed party.
Time will tell…
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