UUP not running candidates in three constituencies

image captionUUP leader Robin Swann said he will discuss the decision with DUP leader Arlene Foster on Monday

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has said it will not be running candidates in three constituencies in the general election - North Belfast, West Belfast and Foyle.

UUP leader Robin Swann said he will discuss the decision with DUP leader Arlene Foster on Monday.

He was speaking after a meeting of the party's ruling executive in Belfast, where MPs Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott were reselected to stand in Fermanagh South Tyrone and South Antrim.

Mr Swann also said the DUP would be wise to consider a unionist pact to retain Mr Elliott's seat.

He added that the decision not to field three candidates was made without the influence of other parties.

Mr Swann also said he was unaware of media reports that the party's former leader, Mike Nesbitt, was being considered as a possible candidate for South Belfast.

image source, PA
image captionPower-sharing discussions at Stormont have been in deadlock since March's assembly election

It was announced earlier this week that the main unionist parties would discuss an electoral pact.

Talks between Stormont's political parties and the British and Irish governments have so far failed to secure agreement to enable the collapsed institutions to be restored.

Long-running rows over a proposed Irish language act and deep divisions over how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles are holding up a deal.

On Friday, the Secretary of State announced a new deadline of 29 June for Northern Ireland politicians to restore a power-sharing executive.

Mr Brokenshire had previously warned there would either be direct rule from Westminster or another election if no agreement was reached by early May.

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