Northern Ireland

Rodney Connor election challenge set for September

Rodney Connor
Image caption Rodney Connor is challenging the election result

Unionist unity candidate Rodney Connor's legal challenge to his general election defeat by Sinn Fein will be heard in September.

Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew won the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat by just four votes after three recounts last month.

The hearing into the Fermanagh and South Tyrone result will take place at a court within the constituency.

It is expected to last for up to three days.

Mr Connor is claiming there were breaches of the statutory rules and is seeking a scrutiny of the votes, a recount and a determination that Ms Gildernew was not duly elected.

The victorious Sinn Fein candidate insists, however, that she was properly returned last month by the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone as their MP.

During a review hearing at the Election Court in Belfast on Friday, lawyers for Mr Connor were given a week to lodge a discovery application for any material being sought.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting in the case with Mr Justice Gillen, stressed the "urgency in pressing these matters on".

Sir Declan said: "Having regard to the representations of the parties we are going to fix this petition for hearing on Monday 13 September at a venue within the constituency."

Once the hearing is concluded the Election Court will make a determination to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

That determination is deemed to be final.

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