NI prepares for 2017 General Election

Northern Ireland will go to the polls on 8 June after Prime Minister Theresa May called a General Election.

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Voters set to go to the polls in Westminster election

Northern Ireland’s politicians have been taking part in a last round of canvassing just a day before voters across the UK go to the polls.

Northern Ireland was still catching its breath from the last election when Theresa May made her shock announcement that we were off to the polls again.

While Brexit was expected to dominate, it sounded more like the bell ringing for round two – with the result being a seven-week campaign fought mostly along tribal lines.

But, as UTV’s Deputy Political Editor Tracey Magee reports, it will be down to the voters to have their say on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Political Editor Ken Reid looks at what voters need to cast their ballot, turn-out expectations, and what will happen after this election – Northern Ireland’s third in less than a year.

Parties take part in second TV debate

Northern Ireland’s five main parties have clashed during an election debate at the BBC - the second debate in less than 24 hours.

Tuesday night’s debate comes after the politicians squared up to one another during a UTV's election showdown on Monday.

Our Deputy Political Editor Tracey Magee reports on the latest proceedings.

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UTV’s Election Debate: NI parties go head-to-head

Watch UTV’s election debate with representatives of Northern Ireland’s five biggest political parties, hosted by Marc Mallett.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, Sinn Féin’s leader at Stormont Michelle O’Neill, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, UUP leader Robin Swann, and Alliance Party leader Naomi Long go head-to-head on key issues.

It comes as voters prepare to go the polls on 8 June.

  • Watch and then have your say by voting for the party representative you think performed best

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Behind-the-scenes of UTV’s Westminster election debate

Marc Mallett moderates the UTV election debate airing on Monday night. Credit: Presseye

UTV will be airing a Westminster election debate on Monday night, just three months after voters in Northern Ireland last went to the polls.

The five main parties are gearing up for round two, going head-to-head once again on the key issues.

A break in political campaigning in the wake of the recent terror attack in Manchester meant the debate had to be postponed.

But it now airs just three days before the polls open across the UK.

As Tracey Magee reports, with Brexit, the constitutional issue and the very future of Stormont hanging in the balance, it has never been more important for the parties to get their message across.

  • Watch UTV's Election Debate at 9pm

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Green Party say no to electoral pact

Credit: UTV

The Green Party says it will not be entering into a "pro-remain" pact ahead of the June Westminster election.

Leader Steven Agnew said his party had reached the decision following internal meetings and discussions with representatives of other parties.

The North Down MLA said they have engaged with the SDLP, Sinn Féin and the UUP but decided that individual members within those parties had "fallen short" of the Green Party's "clear vision for a progressive society based on stability and sustainability".

Mr Agnew emphasised that his party had explored the possibility of a pro-remain pact but added "it became clear that there was too much distance between the parties and too little time to bridge the gap".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he recognised there is now "little prospect" of an alliance, "despite our best efforts".

He added: "The SDLP will continue to explore how we can maximise the mandate delivered by the referendum and return the strongest possible team of pro-Europe MPs.”

Alliance leader Naomi Long said her party has been clear from the outset in rejecting pacts.

She added: “The Green Party is now tainted from chasing a nationalist pact and their seeming desire to turn several constituencies into a sectarian headcount."

Meanwhile Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said she was disappointed with the lack of an agreement.

“This will almost certainly gift seats to some of the most pro Brexit hardliners," she added. “I would urge those parties to reconsider."

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