Alliance Party Deputy Leader Eileen Bell has announced she will not be seeking re-election at the next Assembly election. The North Down MLA also stated she would step down as Deputy Leader in March 2006.
Speaking at Party Council, the party’s justice spokesperson said: “I have enjoyed serving the people of North Down and the Alliance Party in various elected positions for many years. Now it is time for me to hand over the reigns, and I will offer every assistance to my successor in North Down.
“There is also no point in me continuing as Deputy Leader beyond March while the prospect, we hope, of an Assembly Election looms. Someone else deserves the chance to take on that position and help the party leadership go into that election with the credentials to improve our position.
“I am delighted that during my period as Deputy Leader the party’s position has grown. Our Westminster vote share has increased across Northern Ireland, our Assembly position has remained steady while the other so-called ‘moderate’ parties went into freefall, and we gained two extra Council seats this year. This is a record the party can be proud of, given the context of these elections.
“I will continue to work with victims’ groups, and with the party, and look forward to assisting further improvement in its position over the coming years.”