Battle now begins for UK’s tightest MP seat

IT’S time to get the driving licence and the voting cards at the ready as Fermanagh’s heading back to the polling stations.
In just over five weeks, Fermanagh residents will head to the polling stations across the county to elect their new MP to represent the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency.
On Wednesday, in dramatic scenes, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, called a shock General Election. He later confirmed that the election would take place on Thursday, July 4.
Anticipation is already building throughout the county to see who’ll be standing for election for the hugely contested and hard-fought MP seat in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency.
Having dominated the seat for the best part of 20 years, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew is in the midst of an election campaign in the Republic of Ireland and will not be standing for this election.
“The European Union is crucially important to Ireland. Ireland needs to be at the fore in setting the direction of the European Union and I want to be part of making that happen,” said Ms Gildernew.
“If elected as an MEP for the Midlands/North West, I want to be part of delivering that positive change that communities, workers and families need.”
Sinn Féin has not confirmed who’s going to contest the MP seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has confirmed that Diana Armstrong is set to contest the election.
Current Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillor for Erne North, Ms Armstrong is a daughter of former UUP leader Harry West, who won the MP seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 1974.
“I have no illusions, I know you need to be resilient. I know you need to be on your toes in the job and be at grassroots level. The people you are representing are so, so important,” she told the Herald.
“One of my most important roles is to raise the awareness of what Fermanagh South Tyrone is,” she said, stating it was a chance to have “local voices from all sides of the community heard in Westminster.”
Despite discussionstaking place between the Unionist parties, Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie has ruled out a unified Unionist candidate standing in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
“In 2019 the Ulster Unionist Party came within 57 votes of taking the seat and returning a pro-union MP,” Mr Beattie told Belfast Telegraph.
“Announcing our candidate [Diana Armstrong] early, ensuring she is known and is making headway in delivering a pro-Union message gives many unionists the opportunity to affect change in FST.

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