Alliance leader announces she will run for European Parliament

The leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland has announced she will run in the European elections.

Next month’s poll comes as the UK Government remains unable to agree a deal to leave the European Union.

While a majority across the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, the majority in Northern Ireland wanted to remain.

Naomi Long said she is running as a candidate to allow voters to express their will for a second referendum on membership of the EU.

She was speaking as she submitted her nomination papers at the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland’s headquarters in Belfast on Thursday.

“The chaos and uncertainty created by Brexit has impacted every aspect of life here, including our economy, our community and our political situation,” she said.

“People have felt badly let down in the 2016 referendum and since, and Parliament has now reached an impasse.

“The best and potentially only way through this crisis is to put Brexit back to the people.

“Alliance supports a People’s Vote, crucially including the option to remain.

“A vote for Alliance in this election is the best way to send a clear message we want that new referendum.”

Ms Long said Brexit is not an “orange versus green issue”, adding: “It affects us all. Alliance is best placed to unite people from all parts of our community together to resolve this divisive issue.”

Earlier on Thursday, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood confirmed he will run in the European elections.

The candidates running for Northern Ireland’s three seats in the European Parliament are Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson, the Democratic Unionist Party’s Diane Dodds, Danny Kennedy (Ulster Unionist Party), Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Naomi Long (Alliance).

There is also speculation that Northern Ireland Green Party leader Clare Bailey will confirm her intention to run.

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