Northern Ireland

SDLP suspends three councillors over reproductive health row

Belfast City Council's debating chamber
Image caption The motion was discussed in the council chamber at Belfast City Hall on Monday night

The SDLP has suspended three of its councillors after they ignored party instructions to back a motion about reproductive healthcare facilities.

On Monday night, the three Belfast City Council members abstained on a vote condemning harassment and intimidation of people outside the facilities.

It is understood Pat Convery, Kate Mullan and Declan Boyle have been suspended for an indefinite period.

The SDLP had seven members on Belfast City Council but now it has only four.

Mr Convery, a former lord mayor of Belfast, will be replaced as SDLP group leader, and Kate Mullan will be replaced as deputy leader.

The party said its councillors had been instructed to support the motion, brought by Green and Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) members, during Monday's council meeting.

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