Patsy McGlone answers your questions on the SDLP leadership…

And the first one of SDLP leadership contest, is Patsy McGlone. 1) What would you do during your first 30 days as leader to start rebuilding the SDLP? (Original question from ‘Sean Og’) My plan to reform, rebuild and restore the SDLP to the centre of Irish politics relies on strengthening party unity. Among the first actions I will take as leader will be to sit down with my Assembly and Council colleagues to take their views on the political …

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Tom Elliott announces leadership bid

Tom Elliott, UUP

Tom Elliott has announced his intention to stand for the leadership of the UUP. He is the first to declare since Reg Empey said he would stand down. Elliott announced his candidacy in the Great hall in Stormont: “While I am proud of the Ulster Unionist Party’s long history and recognise that it was our determination that has brought Northern Ireland to this stage, I am also crucially aware that unionism has changed dramatically over the last two decades – …

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What is the contest in Fine Gael about.

The contest in FG is not urban or rural as Elaine Byrne suggested but between the politics of “what” and “how” as compared with the politics of “who, and where and when”. There is not inconsiderable number in Irish politics across the party divide for whom the intoning of the party name is the answer to all questions. This is great stuff at the time of an Ard Fheis when rallying the troops but holds less water when faced with more practical problems as we are now.

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Fine Gael must find a story and stick to it…

Enda has pulled out a lot of stops including, perhaps, pulling in the odd favour from an old friend. His big mistake was trying to take out his capable deputy, Richard Bruton (though to be fair, he may not have had much choice by that stage). In parts it carries the smack of desperate injustice, or at least a very bad metropolitan dose of inveterate culchie hating… Kenny managed not only to pull together a party decimated by under the leadership of Michael …

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What are the prospects for a smooth change in FG?

I suspect that it is obvious at this point that the possibility of a change at the top of FG has increased in the last 48 hours and I suspect, despite the way things are being played in the media, the likelihood of this change over being a smooth and relatively bloodless one has increased too. I believe that Enda Kenny knows that his race as currently constituted has been run and a significant change in approach is needed. It would seem plain to me that neither he nor the party at large simply can’t overcome the incorrect perception of him that has fixed itself in the mind of the electorate. I say this as a fan of the man, I believe he would be a superb Taoiseach but too large a portion of the electorate can’t see that and no matter what we do we appear to not be able to make the electorate see that. So the key question then becomes what do we do about it?

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