From the archive: John Hume elected leader of the SDLP after Fitt resigns - November 1979

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John Hume has been unanimously elected leader of the SDLP in succession to Mr. Gerry Fitt, who resigned last week after a disagreement with the decision of the party’s constituency representatives, which was later backed by the executive, not to take part in the inter-party Constitutional Talks called by Secretary of State, Mr. Humphrey Atkins.

He was elected after a two-hour meeting of the SDLP constituency representatives in Dungannon. Mr. Seamus Mallon, chairman of the constituency representatives, was elected deputy leader and Dr. Joe Hendron was chosen to take over Mr. Mallon’s former post.

After his election Mr. Hume said that if Mr. Atkins was serious about talks then he would respond positively to the SDLP request for an agenda that would allow full discussion of the SDLP’s own proposals.