SINN Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said it’s “remarkable” that less than 24 hours after expressing his concern at a rise in postal and proxy votes from nationalist areas, Colum Eastwood is now appealing for unionist votes.
The Foyle Assembly member was speaking after the SDLP leader publicly urged unionists to support his party in the Westminster election on June 8th.
He commented: “I find it remarkable that the leader of the SDLP is now making this call just a day after he supported Arlene Foster in her concern about the rise in postal and proxy votes at the Assembly election.
“Let’s be clear; Postal and proxy votes are entirely legitimate and all parties – including the SDLP and DUP – encourage voters to apply for them if they are unable to attend the polling station on the day of the election.
“So the source of the SDLP’s concern here isn’t the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote by postal or proxy. It is the increasing numbers of people choosing to vote Sinn Féin which is worrying them.
“What I am concerned about is the fact that 60,000 people were unfairly and undemocratically removed from the electoral register last year and almost 4,000 people were turned away from the polls in March as a result.
“That is a scandalous disenfranchisement of the electorate. Is Colum Eastwood also going to express his concern about that? Or is he quite happy to see nationalist voters disenfranchised while he courts unionist support?”