SDLP rules out electoral pact with Sinn Fein

MLA Alban Maginness gave an unequivocal answer: “We don’t enter into sectarian pacts.”

Click to follow

The SDLP has ruled out a nationalist electoral pact with Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland during the general election.

Sinn Fein had called on nationalists to come together in response to the unionists’ “narrow sectarian and conservative agenda” for the May election. But Alban Maginness, a Stormont MLA and an SDLP candidate for North Belfast, said yesterday: “Our position is very clear: we don’t enter into sectarian pacts.”

Sinn Fein’s call follows an agreement by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) to field one unity candidate in each of four constituencies, in one of the most far-reaching eve-of-poll deals for decades.

The parties aim to increase the number of unionists at Westminster, given the odds of a hung parliament and the increased chance for smaller parties to wield influence.

The DUP, which is the largest Northern Ireland party in the Commons with eight MPs, has said it will support a government in a hung parliament if there is agreement to scrap the so-called bedroom tax, and commitments on defence spending and securing UK borders.