The SDLP was born out of the civil rights movement in August 1970 when six Stormont MPs and one Senator joined together to form a new political party. Since our foundation, the SDLP has been proudly nationalist and is 100% for a United Ireland, just as we are 100% for the Good Friday Agreement. As members of the Party of European Socialists and Socialists International, we are also solidly internationalist and strongly social democratic in our outlook.
The party’s first leader was the recently deceased Gerry Fitt, with John Hume as his Deputy. Following Gerry Fitt’s resignation in 1979, John Hume became Leader and Seamus Mallon, Deputy Leader - positions they held for twenty-one years. In November 2001 Mark Durkan became Leader with Brid Rodgers as Deputy Leader and in February 2004, Dr Alasdair McDonnell succeeded Brid as Deputy Leader.
The party had 16 MLAs elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007. In 2005 Mark Durkan was elected as MP for Foyle, Alasdair McDonnell took the South Belfast seat - the first nationalist MP for the constituency - and Eddie McGrady was returned as the MP for South Down. At the Local government elections in 2005 the party returned 101 councillors.
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