Three who left SDLP in abortion row fail to be re-elected in Belfast

Three former members of the SDLP who left the party in a row over its policy on abortion have failed to be re-elected.

Pat Convery, a previous lord mayor of Belfast, Declan Boyle and Kate Mullan inflicted a blow on their former party by resigning in 2017.

Their departure depleted the party’s strength on Belfast City Council significantly, reducing its number of councillors from seven to four.

They each ran as independents in the 2019 local government election, but all failed to regain their seats.

Mr Convery received 377 votes at the first stage of the count in the Castle DEA and was unable to make the quota to be elected.

Mr Boyle managed 609 votes at the first stage in the Botanic DEA, but also did not receive enough transfers to reach the quota.

Ms Mullan received 204 votes and was also unable to gain enough transfers to be elected.

Mr Convery, a former vice-chair of the SDLP, told the Press Association he had spoken to Mr Boyle and Ms Mullan and they had agreed that they did not wish to comment on the result.

The trio was suspended from the SDLP after abstaining from a council vote condemning the harassment of women by anti-abortion activists outside reproductive healthcare facilities.

They later resigned from the party.