Sinn Fein ‘open to arrangement’ between pro-Remain parties to oust DUP MPs

Sinn Fein has indicated it is “open to an arrangement” between pro-remain parties to oust DUP MPs.

Assembly member Conor Murphy made the comment as John Finucane was selected to contest North Belfast in the event of a general election.

The Newry and Armagh representative said they expect an election to be called before Christmas, and said his party is “open” to an arrangement between pro-remain parties in Northern Ireland to unseat DUP MPs.

Sinn Fein's selected election candidate in North Belfast John Finucane (centre) alongside MLA Conor Murphy (right)
Sinn Fein’s selected election candidate in North Belfast John Finucane (centre) alongside MLA Conor Murphy (right) (PA)

Mr Finucane told the selection meeting at Belfast Castle on Sunday that it had the potential to be a “historic election” for Sinn Fein, and described North Belfast as a “key battlefield”.

Mr Murphy urged co-operation between parties to send a pro-remain message to Westminster.

“There is only one candidate can win this seat from Nigel Dodds, and that is John Finucane,” he said.

“There is only 2,000 votes in the difference in the last election – there are 5,000-plus pro-remain voters who voted for other parties in the most recent elections and not for Sinn Fein.

“A portion of those would secure the election of John Finucane, but more importantly send a very clear signal to the DUP and the leader of the DUP at Westminster (Nigel Dodds).

✅ SELECTED: @johnfinucane has been selected as Sinn Féin candidate for North Belfast in the upcoming Westminster election #RejectBrexitpic.twitter.com/GSCOGCGadW

— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) September 22, 2019

“I would appeal to all of those outside Sinn Fein, those pro-Remain progressive voters, that they put aside their own party political loyalties and vote for the only candidate that can take this seat away from the DUP, and send a very strong pro-Remain, progressive message to the British Government.

“So we would want to see an arrangement between all the parties, we are very much open to that type of arrangement between parties, to ensure that strong pro-remain voices, progressive voices, are elected to represent people.

“There is an opportunity to ensure all four MPs for Belfast do not belong to the DUP, aren’t promoting a hard Brexit and austerity policies in London on behalf of the people of Belfast.”

In the 2016 EU referendum, Northern Ireland as a whole voted remain by 56% to 44%.

In the constituency of North Belfast there was a narrow majority for Remain of 20,128 to 19,844 who voted Leave.

Mr Finucane said North Belfast represents an “opportunity to strike an almighty blow against Brexit by unseating an arch DUP Tory Brexiteer”.

“The numbers are there to make this happen, we can win this seat.

“In the last election, there were just over 2,000 votes separating me and Nigel Dodds,” he said.

“The DUP received 21,240 votes, the total vote for pro-Remain candidates was 24,336 – the numbers are there for a pro-Remain anti-Brexit candidate to win in North Belfast.

“This election has the potential to be a historic one for us and North Belfast is a key battlefield.”

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