Claire Hanna resigns from SDLP whip at Assembly (or does she?) after FF vote but remains member of party

South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna has resigned from the SDLP’s whip will withdraw from of SDLP group meetings at the NI Assembly and has resigned from the position of party Brexit spokesperson. She remains an ordinary member of the SDLP. But it’s complicated.

“Following the conference on Saturday, I have thought long and hard about the outcome and implications. I remain unconvinced that an exclusive partnership with Fianna Fáil is the right vehicle with which to deliver the non-sectarian, transparent and social democratic new Ireland I believe in.

“As such, after a discussion with Colum Eastwood, I have resigned from my position as SDLP Brexit Spokesperson. This hasn’t been an easy decision.

“I remain an SDLP member and MLA, and will be continuing to work hard for the people of South Belfast and alongside SDLP members and activists, with whom I still share political values and aspirations.”

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood commented:

“At the SDLP Special Conference all members were afforded the opportunity to speak and delegates to vote on two motions. The SDLP membership overwhelmingly voted for the party to embark on a partnership with Fianna Fáil.

“It is with regret that we accepts Claire’s resignation. The party membership has democratically spoken and difficult though that decision may be for some, their wishes must be respected and enacted.”