Earlier this morning the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness spoke at a Sinn Fein event repeating his call for a pact telling his audience;
I have appealed for an alliance of progressive parties in the coming Westminster and Assembly elections to maximise the representation of pro-Agreement parties.
I believe that the SDLP’s rejection of my call is a serious political mistake and represents a lost opportunity.
It demonstrates a lack of strategic vision on the part of the SDLP leadership and is further evidence that they are out of step with the voters and the grassroots.
I am calling on them once again to seize the opportunity to send out a clear message of support for progressive politics, the Good Friday Agreement and genuine power sharing and partnership government.
When I spoke with the party’s Westminster candidate and local MLA, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, told me that he thought there was “zero possibility” of a pact after the first refusal of the idea back in November.
Speaking to Slugger a party spokesperson rejected the pact saying;
The SDLP have have been very clear on repeated occasions to our opposition to electoral pacts whether they be pan-unionist or pan-nationalist. ‘Keeping the other side out’ is nothing more than a sectarian headcount that drags politics back to pre-Agreement lows. We will not engage in any electoral tactic that seeks to undermine the foundations of our democracy. The SDLP will be contesting each of the 18 constituencies.