Claire Hanna joins Fearghal McKinney on Stormont benches on Monday (interview)

Claire Hanna after South Belfast Assembly selectionClaire Hanna and Fearghal McKinney were tonight selected as the SDLP’s two South Belfast candidates for the Belfast South constituency at May 2016’s NI Assembly election.

Claire will also take over from Alasdair McDonnell up on the hill when she is co-opted into his seat on Monday morning.

In the end, the selection of the two candidates was uncontested [Ed – so no opportunity for UUP mathematical gaffes?!] and party members in the Wellington Park Hotel room described the atmosphere as cordial and good-natured, and there was an emphasis on teamwork.

South Belfast SDLP selection meeting June 2015Interviewed immediately after her coronation selection, Claire talked about the issues she has championed as a councillor for Balmoral on Belfast City Council and her hopes for the Assembly. Asked about the SDLP leadership, she neatly pivoted her answer and pointed to the leadership deficit in the two main parties which she characterised as being “like co-dependents in a bad marriage”.

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