SDLP internal report predicts up to 5 seats under threat.

From John Manley at the Irish News The Irish News has seen an internal report from the SDLP predicting up to 5 seats are under threat with seats in South Belfast, Upper Bann and West Belfast likely to fall to parties like People Before Profit and Sinn Fein. It forecasts that the party will hold its seats in the strongholds of Foyle and South Down, where it has three and two MLAs respectively. However, in Alasdair McDonnell’s Westminster constituency of …

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McKinney challenge against Kelly for Deputy Leadership confirmed

I missed this two days ago but the MLA for South Belfast, Fearghal McKinney will be challenging the sitting Deputy Leader Dolores Kelly for the deputy leadership of the SDLP. McKinney is an ally of the current leader, Alasdair McDonnell. He first ran for the party in 2010 for the Fermanagh/South Tyrone constituency and was selected to replace Conall McDevitt as the MLA for South Belfast in 2013. He sits on the Health Committee at Stormont.   David McCannDavid McCann …

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Quid pro quo in assembly speaker appointments

The DUP’s Robin Newton was today appointed as the NI assembly’s principal deputy speaker with support from Sinn Féin. The appointment was confirmed minutes after the East Belfast MLA was confirmed as a deputy speaker joining the experienced John Dallat of the SDLP and Roy Beggs of the UUP. Last week the DUP supported the appointment of Sinn Féin’s  Mitchel McLaughlin  as NI assembly speaker and both partys have been accused of a ‘carve-up’ of top positions at Stormont. The …

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NI Justice Minister: “It is important to note that, in setting some minimum standards, I am not prohibiting the Board from adding to these minimum criteria…”

Whilst Brian may regard them as “surely sensible” changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, and they may well be, as I mentioned in updates to a previous post, no sooner had the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, announced those changes than the NI First and deputy First Ministers promptly agreed to exercise their prerogative to call his decision into the dysfunctional NI Executive semi-detached polit-bureau  [Where it will be put to the sword… – …

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Imagine … TEDx talks by Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and others … under the gaze of Lord Craigavon

The Great Hall (the entrance hall) of Parliament Buildings up on the hill is a commanding setting for today’s TEDxStormont event. Seventeen speakers, three musical artists, the statue of Lord Craigavon basking in orange red light, and the portrait of Lord Bannside looking down on the couple of hundred delegates sitting below (with a small bottle of the devil’s buttermilk in their goody bags). The First Minster and deputy First Minister were the first two speakers this morning, fitting in …

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SDLP Conference: Change can only come from the bottom up…

Comrade Stalin in the comments under Alan’s makes a reasonable point about the SDLP’s belated talk of opposition, given that party’s rather rigid come-what-may espousal of a settlement that crowds out any oppositionist voice. Yet this is what happens the democratic world over when parties change their leadership. The change of personnel gives them latitude to change direction. For my part its inclusion in Kelly’s speech was an smart move on their part: One, it’s flying a kite, not policy. …

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