Northern Ireland

European elections: Sinn Féin says vote chance to reject Brexit

Martina Anderson Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Martina Anderson is the Sinn Féin European election candidate in Northern Ireland

Voters should use the upcoming European election as an opportunity to show they "reject Brexit", Sinn Féin has said.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald made the remark at the party's European manifesto launch in Belfast.

Speaking at the Waterfront Hall, she urged voters to back Martina Anderson, Sinn Féin's candidate in Northern Ireland.

She then said voters should then transfer to all other pro-remain candidates on the ballot paper.

The election is due to take place on 23 May, with counting to begin the following Monday, after voting across the 28 EU countries ends.

Mrs McDonald said Sinn Féin wants to see two pro-remain MEPs returned for Northern Ireland and that in order to achieve that, voters should first back Ms Anderson, before transferring to all other "pro-remain, progressive" candidates.

"A candidate opposed to Brexit must come out on top in this election," she added.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mary Lou McDonald said Sinn Féin wants to see two pro-remain MEPs returned for Northern Ireland

Ms Anderson has been an MEP since 2012 and topped the poll for Sinn Féin in the 2014 European elections.

She said: "This is an election that the Tories and Brexiteers didn't want us to have. I am the MEP that they don't want to see returned."

Asked whether she would support another referendum as a way of stopping Brexit, Mrs McDonald said if a vote happens, Sinn Féin would support remain - but added that "it would be wrong to put all your eggs in one basket".

She said the backstop in the withdrawal agreement remains the bottom line.

The party's other European manifesto pledges include seeking EU support for Irish unity; reforming the EU through greater transparency measures and promoting human rights issues at EU level.

Mrs McDonald said her party did not believe the EU was a perfect institution and that the best way to change it was to return Sinn Féin MEPs.

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