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Monica McWilliams:
"We're campaigning for the peace process"
 real 56k

Friday, 11 May, 2001, 08:02 GMT
Coalition stands in South Belfast
Monica McWilliams
Monica McWilliams will stand in South Belfast
The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition has announced that Monica McWilliams is to stand in South Belfast for the party in the general election.

A South Belfast assembly member, Ms McWilliams is to stand in the constituency where the Westminster seat is currently held by anti-Agreement Ulster Unionist the Reverend Martin Smyth.

The party has said her assembly colleague Jane Morrice is now not going to stand in North Down in an attempt to boost the chances of a pro-Good Friday Agreement MP being elected there.

In an announcement timed to coincide with the Women's Coalition's fifth birthday, Professor McWilliams said her aim would be "to maximise the pro-Agreement vote in South Belfast".

'Greater choice'

Jane Morrice
Jane Morrice says she is standing aside in North Down
"The Women's Coalition is well known for its ability to attract support from new voters and those disillusioned with traditional politics," she added.

"We have examined local circumstances in each constituency and we are satisfied that by standing in South Belfast, we can give voters greater choice and work to protect the Agreement.

Martin Smyth is defending a 4,600 majority over the SDLP's Dr Alasdair McDonnel.

However, Dr McDonnell believes his party can take the seat.

On Friday he urged voters to "take a cold, hard look" at the list of candidates running in the general election and think about which of them could unseat the anti-Agreement MP.

The other candidates standing are Sean Hayes for Sinn Fein and Geraldine Rice for Alliance.

'Agreement poll'

Meanwhile another Women's Coalition member has stood aside from a Westminster seat.

Assembly member Jane Morrice said she had come under pressure to put herself forward in North Down when it appeared anti-Agreement candidates were dominating the ballot paper.


We would like to see a pro-Agreement MP for the area

Jane Morrice
North Down
But she said that in order to safeguard the accord, she and the party decided to stand aside in favour of other pro-Agreement candidates.

"We would like to see a pro-Agreement MP for the area and after much consideration, we feel that we would help get that result by standing aside.

The Women's Coalition is also fielding eight candidates in the local government elections.

Three candidates are standing in Belfast, two in North Down, one in Armagh, one in Newtownabbey and one in Castlereagh.

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