An SDLP Councillor in Coleraine has announced she is leaving the party as a result of its changed stance on abortion. Stephanie Quigley said she had come to the decision as the issue of the right to life was at the core of her politics. 

“As we journey through life there are always ‘crossroads’ moments and today I have made a really difficult but important decision to be an Independent Councillor,” she said.

Ms Quigley, who will remain on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council as an independent councillor, was congratulated for her decision on Facebook where she had made the announcement.

“Congratulations! The SDLP’s current stance on abortion is far from its roots and goes against the rights of all. Well done and good luck in your future in politics,” wrote one supporter.

The former SDLP representative said “I have had the privilege to work alongside great people and make some lifetime friends in the SDLP and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

However she said she needed to “place the rights of those without a voice ahead of populism.”

Ms Quigley’s father, Gerry McLaughlin, was an elected councillor for over two decades and she said his philosophy had helped to shape her decision to resign from the SDLP.

“The philosophy which my father espoused was based on non-violence and the right to life,” she said. “I followed in his footsteps and held the right to life and the life of the unborn child as the cornerstone of my political philosophy.”

The SDLP said they wished Cllr Quigley well for the future.