PATRICK Brown, the Alliance Party councillor who came so close to taking a South Down seat in the recent Assembly election, will not be standing in the Westminster poll.
Mr Brown, who was just a few hundred votes away from taking the seat later won by the SDLP’s Colin McGrath, confirmed this afternoon that he will not be putting his name forward to the party’s selection convention next week.
The news will come as a shock in South Down political circles, especially as Mr Brown more than doubled the Alliance vote in that Assembly election and is seen as one of the party’s brightest up and coming stars in Northern Ireland.
Nominations for the Alliance candidacy close on Monday night and it is understood another Alliance councillor, Andrew McMurray, who represents Slieve Croob on Newry, Mourne and Down Council, will be putting his name forward.
Speaking after his surprise announcement, Mr Brown said there is a lot of exciting young talent within the Alliance Party in South Down and the party would benefit by others standing for election.