The SDLP has welcomed news from the Electoral Office that nominations for Westminster candidates completed using ‘East Derry’ would be valid.
The Electoral Office had previously contacted the SDLP informing them no alternative or abbreviation of the constituency ‘East Londonderry’ would be accepted, said MLA John Dallat.
However, Mr. Dallat welcomed what he said appears to be “a change of heart” by the Electoral Office.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Office told the Journal: “Nominations submitted in the name of East Derry will be accepted, however legal advice will be sought about making a minor correction to amend the name of the constituency to reflect the name set out in legislation. The nomination in any event would remain valid.”
The SDLP’s candidate is Causeway Coast and Glens councillor Gerry Mullan.
“I could live with the stipulation if I have to put ‘Londonderry’ on my nomination form, but it doesn’t mean I agree with it, or feel happy about it. I respect those who genuinely, and without malice, refer to my beloved county as ‘Londonderry’, but I am also aware that it is being used by unionists for divisive purposes. The Electoral Office need to be aware that the legislation they are keen to implement to the letter of the law doesn’t fit well with the desire to encourage better use of democracy and participation,” said Mr Mullan.
His election agent, Assembly Member John Dallat said: “I’m delighted the Electoral Office has reviewed what was on Wednesay a very definite ‘no’ that forms with East Derry would be rejected.”