Mid-Ulster by election set for March 7

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UNIONISTS are expected to meet this week to try and agree a joint candidate for the Mid-Ulster by election which will be held on Thursday, March 7.

A source told the MAIL that recent talks between the various Unionist parties had been constructive but a decision regarding an “agreeable candidate” had not yet been reached.


The by election is to replace Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness who formally resigned as Mid-Ulster MP on January 2.

Last year Mr McGuinness, who is deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, announced that he would be stepping down in line with his parties policy to end double jobbing in more than one body.

So far his party colleague Francie Molloy and the SDLP’s Patsy McGlone have thrown their hats into the ring for the by election.

Willie Frazer, the controversial loyalist victims’ campaigner, has indicated an interest to contest the seat.

However it is understood that Mr Frazer, whose home was damaged in a weekend arson attack, will step aside if a joint Unionist candidate emerges this week.

“If the talks don’t produce a joint candidate then in all likelihood three Unionist candidates will contest the by election and this will be a waste of time and money for all concerned as it is a lost seat as regards Unionism,” said the source.