McGlone rules himself out of SDLP leadership bid

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone who attended the rebranding and official opening of the new premises for the Essential Design Group.INMM1814-342

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone who attended the rebranding and official opening of the new premises for the Essential Design Group.INMM1814-342

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SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has said he has no intention of challenging Alasdair McDonnell for the leadership of the party.

The Mid Ulster Assembly member, who lost out in a leadership battle to the South Belfast MP in 2011, confirmed that he will not run for leadership at the party’s conference in November.

On Thursday, senior SDLP figure Mark Durkan said the party needed a change in leadership before next year’s Assembly election.

“I think the party needs to know that we are not going into the next election being led from Westminster,” he told BBC’s The View.

“I think that people want to see the party with a new leadership going forward into the Assembly election.” The Foyle MP said that SDLP representatives have been listening to disillusionment ‘on the doorsteps’ by people he said were angry at eight years of DUP/Sinn Féin ‘rule’ at Stormont.

“They want to see that challenged in a cogent, competent way and in a passionate way,” he said. “I think that means people want to see new leadership in the SDLP.”

Mr McGlone confirmed that he would not be putting his name forward for any potential leadership challenge at the SDLP’s conference in November. “I have no intention of it. I will be focusing on one thing and that’s getting re-elected in the Assembly,” he said.