John Dallat ‘enthusiastically backing’ Colum Eastwood for SDLP leadership

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
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SDLP MLA John Dallat is “enthusiastically backing” Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood for leadership of the party.

The east Derry assemblyman confirmed a number of SDLP branches across the north have nominated the 32-year-old for the leadership challenge.

John Dallat MLA.

John Dallat MLA.

When asked for comment, Mr Eastwood said he would be talking to colleagues over the next few days.

Meantime, John Dallat said he would be campaigning for the Foyle assemblyman to become the next leader of the SDLP.

“I am enthusiastically supporting Colum Eastwood. We need a party leader based in the north. I think Alasdair McDonnell does a splendid job in Westminster, and I have no problem with that. I think Colum Eastwood represents the rising tide of youth in the SDLP and, just like the previous generation, I believe he will make an enormous contribution to the party in circumstances totally different to those that John Hume and Seamus Mallon had to work in during times of terrible violence and bloodshed.”

Mr Dallat said such a campaign would be “positive”.

“I certainly will be campaigning to make sure he (Colum Eastwood) becomes leader of the SDLP in a campaign that will be positive. It’s about a party exercising its democracy within its structures.”

The election for SDLP leadership will take place at the annual party conference in November.