SDLP Conference in Derry next month

Colum Eastwood.

Colum Eastwood.

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The SDLP’s 2016 conference is to take place in Derry next month.

It’s understood the party has made a decision to permanently shift its annual get-together from November to March.

A venue for next month’s event, which will take place on the weekend of March 12, has yet to be decided.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood told the ‘Journal’ that the decision to stage the conference in Derry was an “obvious one.”

“Derry is a place where we’ve always been very strong,” said the Foyle MLA

“The people of Derry have, time and time again, shown their faith in us. As such, I think it’s a fairly natural move to stage this year’s conference in Derry.”

Mr. Eastwood says 2016 will be an important year for his party.

He has revealed that, in the countdown to May’s N.I. Assembly election, the party plans to unveil a new manifesto which will include a number of key pledges.

“We want this election to be about policy and not about personality and the past,” he added. “It’s time for proper politics in the North.

“The party that I lead is committed to delivering new politics for people right across the North.

“Ours is a voice that remains unquestionably relevant in Irish politics.”

Mr. Eastwood said one of his priorities was to convince voters that politics was capable of creating the “change we all want to see.”

“There is a future to be fought for here,” he insisted.