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Anna Lo to quit Northern Ireland politics due to racial abuse

May 29, 2014 2:19 PM

Anna Lo for EuropeChinese Liberal Democrats are sorry to hear recent news reports that Anna Lo of the Alliance Party has said she will not seek re-election to the Northern Ireland Assembly because she is disillusioned with politics.

Ms Lo told the Guardian newspaper that continual racist abuse directed at her by loyalists influenced her decision.

She told the BBC she was considering leaving Northern Ireland following comments from a north Belfast pastor who said he did not trust Muslims.

Ms Lo, who was the UK's first ever parliamentarian from the Chinese community, said she was "very angry" at the support given to Mr McConnell. Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show, she said she is considering leaving the country "because of what might happen" after what Mr Robinson had said, as the comments could "escalate even more of the racist tension".

"I love this country and I chose to live here. I am just appalled our political leaders are coming out and making such comments."

Later on Thursday, an Alliance Party spokesperson said that Ms Lo had already been considering retirement after the next election for some time, but recent events had helped her make the decision.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Ivan Lewis said on Twitter: "Anna Lo's disturbing announcement and Pastor McConnell's Islamophobic remarks should be a wakeup call to those who care about NI's future.

"Irrespective of political affiliation, that Anna feels she must leave public life is sad and a backward step for society and politics."

Ms Lo joined Chinese Liberal Democrats in 2007 when she was first elected to the NI Assembly and has remained a firm friend of CLDs ever since. She had been a huge inspiration to the Chinese community across the country and worldwide and will continue to be regardless of her decision whether to continue in politics in Northern Ireland.