Sinn Fein plans to unseat DUP deputy and Brexit ‘architect’ Nigel Dodds

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle ONeill with party colleagues John Finucane (left) and Chris Hazza

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle ONeill with party colleagues John Finucane (left) and Chris Hazzard (right). Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Sinn Fein is hoping to unseat Brexit 'architect' and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds as it aims to increase its number of MPs from seven to eight.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said the December 12 general election will be about maximising the return of pro-Remain candidates.

"We will stand in our seven constituencies in which we currently hold seats and we will stand in North Belfast to win that seat," she said.

Standing alongside the party's North Belfast candidate John Finucane, O'Neill made clear their intention to target the constituency's MP Dodds.

"We believe there is a real opportunity in North Belfast to oust someone who has been architect of Brexit, someone who has actively worked against the interests of people who live here on this island, and John Finucane can provide local representation but also will reflect Ireland's interests in all of this mess," she said.

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Asked about her party's suggested pro-Remain electoral pact with other parties opposed to Brexit, O'Neill said: "I have had conversations with the other party leaders in terms of how we can maximise the pro-Remain candidates returned in this election, but I suppose it will be for the electorate to pass judgment on that.

"As I stand here there hasn't been a positive response from the other party leaders."

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Earlier the incoming leader of the Ulster Unionist Party came under pressure on his stance over a unionist electoral pact.

Steve Aiken has said his party will stand candidates in all 18 Westminster seats.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson claimed the stance will mean a "unionist dogfight", and warned this could risk unionists losing seats to Sinn Fein.

Unionist rivals the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) said agreed candidates in certain constituencies is a "no-brainer".

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