East Belfast Assembly Member Naomi Long has publicly announced her intention to run for the position of Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party at the party’s Annual General Meeting this weekend.
The 34-year-old Civil Engineer, who was elected to the Assembly representing East Belfast in 2003 and to Belfast City Council representing the Victoria area in 2001, hopes to succeed current Deputy Leader Eileen Bell, who recently announced her intention to step down from the post.
Paying tribute to the outgoing Deputy Leader, Naomi Long said, “Eileen Bell has been an active, enthusiastic, and committed campaigner for the Party since the very earliest days and has shown particular dedication in her role as Deputy Leader. I am, therefore, delighted that she has formally endorsed my nomination.
“I would be honoured to have the opportunity to serve the Party in this role. Given the support of Party members this coming Saturday, I would intend to work closely with David Ford to continue to provide strong and consistent leadership, not just within the Party, but in the wider community.
“We live in a society which needs to be transformed if it is to be successful and stable. Sterile nationalistic debates and increasing sectarianism and segregation inhibit economic growth, waste resources and stop society from realising its full potential. I want to work with others in Alliance to ensure that we continue to be a catalyst for real change.”
Naomi Long is married to Castlereagh Councillor Michael Long, who is himself standing unopposed for the position of Party Vice Chair.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Cllr Naomi Long MLA is proposed for Deputy Leader by Mr Jim Hendron (Belfast East), founder member of Alliance, and seconded by Mrs Eileen Bell MLA (North Down), the current Deputy Leader.