Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 18:44 UK

Naomi Long new mayor of Belfast

Naomi Long
Naomi Long is the new mayor of Belfast

Naomi Long of the Alliance Party is the new lord mayor of Belfast.

The east Belfast councillor defeated the DUP's William Humphrey by 26 votes to 24 in a vote at a council meeting on Monday afternoon.

She takes over from Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley and is the first woman to hold the post for nearly 30 years.

The 37-year-old is the deputy leader of the Alliance Party and represents the Victoria ward. She has been a member of Belfast City Council since 2001.

Councillor Long defended her decision to take the post despite already being an MLA.

She said she was capable of doing both jobs and that people should judge her at the end of her term of office and not the beginning.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists were critical claiming she couldn't do both jobs properly.

Former Ulster Unionist lord mayor Jim Rodgers said councillor Long needs to choose between the assembly and the Lord's Mayor's parlour.

Unionist also claimed SDLP councillors come under pressure from their leadership to side with Alliance and Sinn Fein ahead of the European election. The party claimed it did what was best for the SDLP group.

The Deputy Lord Mayor's post went to Danny Lavery of Sinn Fein.



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