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Parties prepare for ‘snap’ general election

Thursday, 20 April 2017

POLITICAL parties and independent candidates in West Tyrone are back in election mode following yesterday's announcement of a 'snap' general election in 51 days time, Thursday, June 8.

Prime Minister Theresa May has thrown the proverbial spanner in the works with this surprise announcement as parties here struggle to re-establish a working Executive at Stormont.

Efforts to save devolution have taken something of a hammering over the past few weeks and speculation is rife that a Westminister election could hasten direct rule as it would appear unlikely, that a second Stormont election could be fixed for the same date as it would need a six-week notification period before setting a date.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has called on her voters to "unite around a strong Democratic Unionist Party that will advocate for them in Parliament".

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams tweeted his party was 'up for it' while the SDLP's Colum Eastwood said it showed him just how much Theresa May cared about the peace process in the middle of talks.

Robin Swann from the Ulster Unionist Party said the election would be about strengthening the hand of the United Kingdom in forthcoming Brexit negotiations and added NI needed strong representation in Westminster now more than ever, arguing the best case for Northern Ireland.

It is understood the main parties will start their selection processes shortly with outgoing candidates expected to be to the fore again. Northern Ireland currently has 18 MPs.

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