Eastwood puts SDLP on ‘election footing’

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SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has put his party on a general election footing.

The Foyle MLA says unprecedented events in Britain in the past seven days “demonstrate the chaos at the heart of Whitehall”.

As a result of the continuing political uncertainty, Mr Eastwood said he was putting his party on a general election footing with immediate effect.

The Foyle MLA said a strengthened SDLP would be the only voices and votes at Westminster that would seek to protect the interests of the majority in Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the European Union.

Mr Eastwood said: “The only political certainty revealed in this last week is that the position of this British Government is rapidly unravelling.

“In the last week, they have lost a high court case and have lost an MP. In the last number of months they have lost all credibility on the Brexit issue.

“The chaos at the heart of Whitehall has now arrived at the unprecedented position where a government has been seen to question the independence and motivations of their country’s judiciary.”

The Foyle MLA added that, since the referendum in June, rather than ‘taking back control’, it was blindingly obvious that the ‘Brexiteers’ had, instead, “lost any semblance of control”.

“Given this continuing political uncertainty, I am today putting the SDLP on a general election footing,” he said.

“If a general election is called, voters in the North will have a clear choice.

“The SDLP now represent the only voices and votes in Westminster who will fight to uphold and implement the will of the 56% in the North who chose to remain in the EU.

“We will unapologetically vote against the triggering of Article 50 whilst also seeking to gain special status for the North.

“We will work with others, particularly those in the SNP, to form an alliance which seeks to protect the wishes and will of our voters.

“We will stand strong to shelter Northern Ireland from the political and economic calamity that a hard Brexit will inflict across the island of Ireland,” concluded the SDLP leader.