SDLP: Still no Dallat successor in East Derry

SDLP MLA John Dallat
SDLP MLA John Dallat

A meeting of the SDLP to select a candidate to contest the East Derry constituency in the 2016 Assembly elections has been re-scheduled twice because of a lack of numbers.

Veteran SDLP politician John Dallat has been an MLA for 17 years. However, he is standing down from politics in May which means the race is on within the SDLP to find someone to succeed him to run in the election.

The ‘Journal’ understands 20 people are needed to vote for a selection to take place but, at the most recent convention on Wednesday, only 17 people who were eligible to vote turned up which meant it couldn’t proceed.

When asked about the matter, an SDLP spokesperson said: “There has been some confusion regarding delegate entitlement in the recent East Derry Selection Convention.

The party’s Elections and Organisation Committee will meet and seek to deal with this in the weeks ahead.

“A sizeable number of new members who were not registered in 2014 were not eligible to vote because the constitution states that delegates must be paid-up members for two years. There are five candidates hotly contesting this seat, which demonstrates the interest there is in becoming the party’s MLA in a new Assembly.”