A high-profile member of the nationalist SDLP is quitting politics, it was announced today.
Martin Morgan, who served a term as Lord Mayor of Belfast until earlier this year, has told party leader Mark Durkan he wants to concentrate on his career as a social worker.
He will not stand for the SDLP at the local elections to Belfast City Council next year after 12 years as a councillor.
It will be a blow for the party. At 37 Mr Morgan is one of the new generation in a party which accepts youth is not something it has much of in its higher ranks.
He stood as the SDLP candidate in the European elections in June but failed to retain the seat John Hume had held since 1979. Sinn Féin’s Bairbre de Brun easily topped him at the polls.
Party colleague, Assembly member Alban Maginness, said today the party had known about his decision to quit for several weeks.
“The party was informed some weeks ago. He wants to concentrate on his social work career – it is something he values and wants to build on.”
Mr Maginness added: “I regret the fact that he is leaving politics, but he has made a very real and impressive contribution both to the party and to Belfast City Council where he was Lord Mayor.”