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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 18:45 GMT
SDLP rejects Sinn Fein election deal
Election battle warming up after election pact proposal
Election battle warming up after election pact proposal
The nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party has rejected any suggestion of an electoral pact with Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said he had written to the SDLP, asking for a meeting to discuss the proposed deal.

But SDLP chairman Alex Attwood said he is not interested in striking an electoral deal with Sinn Fein.

The SDLP currently has three MPs elected to the House of Commons while Sinn Fein has two.

Mitchel McLaughlin
Mitchel McLaughlin targeting unionist seats

Mr McLaughlin claimed a nationalist pact could help the parties win 11 of the 18 Northern Ireland seats at the next Westminster election.

He said a pact could net the parties an extra six seats which are currently held by Ulster Unionists.

The constituencies Sinn Fein has targeted are:

  • North Belfast
  • South Belfast
  • West Tyrone
  • Fermanagh-South Tyrone
  • East Londonderry
  • Upper Bann

    'Running scared'

    On Monday, the SDLP said it had not received the letter from Sinn Fein and said it was an attempt to deflect attention from other issues.

    SDLP's Alex Attwood
    Alex Atwood "not interested" in election pact

    Alex Attwood accused Sinn Fein of running scared of an election battle following the decision by the SDLP's Brid Rodgers to stand in West Tyrone.

    "The SDLP has indicated very clearly in recent days that whether it's agreed candidates with unionists or with Sinn Fein, that's not the road we're going to go down," Mr Attwood said.

    It now seems that, come election time, the contest between Sinn Fein and the SDLP will be just as acrimonious as the contest within unionism.

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    25 May 98 | Latest News
    SDLP rejects Sinn Fein pact
    23 Jun 98 | Latest News
    Race is on to top nationalist poll
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