Northern Ireland

Alliance conference: Lo defends united Ireland comments

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Media captionAlliance MLA Anna Lo tells her party conference she will not be labelled as a nationalist, after telling a newspaper her personal preference would be for a united Ireland.

The Alliance Party's Anna Lo has defended comments in a newspaper interview in which she declared her preference for a united Ireland.

The party's European candidate received applause as she took to the stage at the party's annual conference on Saturday.

The South Belfast MLA rejected criticism of her remarks.

She claimed the criticism came from people incapable of seeing beyond sectarianism.

'Not be labelled'

"Of course, in recent days a lot has been said about my views on the constitutional issue and many have tried to badge me as a nationalist," Ms Lo said.

"Let me make this very clear, I cannot and will not be reduced to one label."

Ms Lo caused a storm among unionists earlier this week when she described herself as "anti-colonial" and said the partition of Ireland was "artificial".

She made the comments in an interview for the Irish News newspaper.

Irish Deputy Prime Minister (Tanaiste) Eamon Gilmore was among the guest speakers attending the Alliance conference on the outskirts of Belfast.

On Friday night, at a pre-conference dinner, Alliance members were addressed by the retiring deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie.

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