Northern Ireland

Patsy McGlone speaks on missing out on ministerial role

Patsy McGlone
Image caption Mr McGlone said he would have expected to have been recognised

The SDLP deputy leader has spoken for the first time about missing out on a ministerial position.

Patsy McGlone was overlooked in May by leader Margaret Ritchie.

Instead, the previous Social Development Minister Alex Attwood was given the new role of environment minister.

Speaking on Inside Politics, Mr McGlone said he would have expected to be recognised.

"Well frankly and I am being absolutely open here - whenever you have spent an inordinate amount of time on that particular brief, successfully - so I hope - at least with some degree of success, then you would expect that to be recognised," he said.

Mr McGlone confirmed he would challenge Margaret Ritchie's party leadership in August after weeks of speculation.

Ms Ritchie has been in the post less than two years but recent poor election results prompted growing discontent within the party.

The deputy leader explained a need for change had led to his decision.

"This was based on a pretty wide spread and extensive consultation with the membership base throughout the north and also with party supporters, and what they were saying, almost unanimously, was that there was time for a change here," he said.

"So I was living up to my duties and responsbilities in that regard, not only as an MLA and as a party member, but as someone who has a clear duty as deputy leader to the party."

He said he would have have mounted the challenge even if he had been given a ministerial position.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood is the only assembly member who has pledged his support to Ms Ritichie as leader.

Mr McGlone, however, failed to be drawn on whether he would reappoint Mr Attwood in this role if he became leader.

"For me the key issue is reorganisation of this party, clarity of message getting out there and in those constituencies where we require a huge rebuild job," he added.

More on this story