In today’s Irish News, John Manley reports that the SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood has opened talked with the Green Party and People Before Profit which could see the creation of a “progressive alliance” on the benches at Stormont.
Mr Eastwood noted that the Greens and PBP did not qualify for a place in the programme for government negotiations but he said it was important “progressive parties have a strong voice in these talks”.
The SDLP leader said his party was committed to securing a “progressive and ambitious” policy plan for the forthcoming mandate.
“Today we discussed the critical need to address the north’s spiralling housing crisis with an increase in social housing provision,” Mr Eastwood said after the meeting.
“We also talked about increasing support for early years projects and pre-school childcare and I was pleased to discuss our common interest in reversing the disinvestment in renewable energies in communities like the Antrim and south Down coasts where we can be global leaders in new technologies.”
Not a bad initial move by Eastwood, giving PBP/Greens a voice in Programme for Government could see benefits for the SDLP in a potential opposition arrangement if formal cooperation can be achieved between the parties.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs