Alliance leader Naomi Long standing for general election in East Belfast

Justice Minister Naomi Long will be standing in the general election in Belfast East. Alliance are aiming to take the seat from the Democratic Unionist Party leader Gavin Robinson.
Image: Alliance Party

Naomi Long will stand in the upcoming general election, the Alliance Party has confirmed.

She will stand in Belfast East as she tries to take the seat from the Democratic Unionist Party leader Gavin Robinson.

The DUP’s majority in Belfast East was significantly narrowed in 2019 when Long stood for Alliance, taking the majority to just under 2,000.

There has been speculation over whether Long would decide to stand for election, following the decision of Sinn Fein and the DUP not to field current Stormont ministers for the general election.

The UUP’s Robin Swann is currently the Health Minister and will be standing in South Antrim. He announced last month that he will stand down as Health Minister to focus on the general election campaign.

He told BBC Sunday Politics that when the election is called, and when the election period begins, he will give up his seat at the Northern Ireland Executive.

It is not yet clear whether Justice Minister Naomi Long will remain in the Executive whilst campaigning in the general election.

In February she told BBC News NI that she has “never been distracted by elections yet and I fought a number of campaigns while I was justice minister previously and was able to do the job and still campaign.”

“It is always an honour to be the East Belfast candidate in any election, and this time, Alliance has a real opportunity to return several MPs and send a message that as a society we are moving forward beyond traditional divides to seek the best outcomes for everyone,” she said.

“People are weary after 14 years of negative, regressive government under the Conservatives. They have a chance in this election not only to replace that Government but also to hold to account the local politicians who propped them up and voted with them on some of their most destructive policies.

“Both in East Belfast, and across Northern Ireland, we have an opportunity to choose a brighter, more positive politics, focused on growing a dynamic, sustainable economy, delivering fair funding for public services through the block grant, and ending political instability by reforming our institutions to remove vetoes. That’s what my colleagues and I are offering voters – their votes plus our commitment adds up to a better future.

“Whilst others are already focused on constitutional fear-mongering and division, Alliance is focused on issues such as health, education, the economy, climate, and the cost of living, seeking practical and innovative ways to improve people’s lives.

“If the people of East Belfast elect me as their MP on July 4, I am committed to leading that change at Westminster.”

– Naomi Long MLA

No other parties have confirmed their candidates for Belfast East, although it is safe to assume that the DUP will field the current holder of the seat, Gavin Robinson.

Only the DUP, Alliance and UUP stood in Belfast East in 2019.

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