Eastwood “We’re open to any discussion about how we can protect the remain vote in Northern Ireland”

Chris had an excellent post up today about the possibility of having a Pro Remain Alliance for the upcoming election.

At Stormont today, the SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood had some very interesting comments which are worth noting

We don’t do sectarian pacts between two parties to keep out one community. We’re open to any discussion about how we can protect the remain vote in Northern Ireland, about how we can fight against the anti-Europe MPs and how we can protect against a hard Brexit in this election. We’ll speak to anyone and talk to any individual candidates or parties to see how we can advance that.

We will not be involved in any sectarian pact where it’s unionist vs nationalist, where it’s let’s keep a unionist out or get a nationalist out, we are open to discussions around how we can protect the interests of Northern Ireland and the majority who voted to remain. This is a Brexit election, we’re open to discussions about how we advance the anti-hard Brexit cause.

Slugger understands from sources within the SDLP, that the party is willing to speak with parties across the Remain spectrum (Including Sinn Fein and Alliance) about how pro-Brexit MPs could be defeated in constituencies where it is possible that a pro-Remain candidate could succeed.

If this gets legs it could really change the dynamics of the election and actually mirrors some of the movements that parties such as the Greens and SNP are making in England & Scotland. 

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs