Green Party enters ‘Remain alliance’ in Northern Ireland
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The Green Party in Northern Ireland has joined an informal Remain alliance in Belfast to help the anti-Brexit cause.
The party will not stand in any of the city's four constituencies in order to clear the way for other pro-European candidates.The move follows an earlier agreement between Sinn Fein and the SDLP, which has seen candidates step aside in some areas to improve the chances of denying seats to the pro-Brexit DUP.
The Greens had already withdrawn from the South Belfast contest earlier this week to endorse the SDLP's bid to unseat the DUP's Emma Little Pengelly.
Northern Ireland Green Party leader Clare Bailey said her party would also not nominate candidates in north, east and west Belfast.
West Belfast is considered a safe Sinn Fein seat but the north and east could be tightly-fought contests.
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Sinn Fein's John Finucane is hoping to topple DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds in the north of the city and Alliance leader Naomi Long is aiming to unseat the DUP's Gavin Robinson in the east.
Bailey said she was setting aside party interest to back pro-Remain counterparts.
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"This election is all about returning as many pro-Remain MPs as possible," she said. "These are extraordinary times and require an extraordinary response.
"The Green Party NI achieved our best ever vote across the city of Belfast in the local government election earlier this year. However, I'm prepared to put the need to have pro-Remain MPs returned ahead of party interest.
"The realities of the first-past-the-post system and the threat posed to our way of life by Brexit means that we must do everything possible to maximise the pro-Remain vote. People want us to act to maximise the pro-Remain voice and that's what we're doing right across Belfast."