Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan is to stand in May’s European elections for Ireland’s Fine Gael party.
Mr Durkan is a former Foyle MP covering the city of Londonderry, a former member of Stormont’s powersharing administration and had been an SDLP grandee.
The SDLP has trailed Sinn Fein in the polls and recently announced its partnership with Irish opposition party Fianna Fail in an effort to boost its flagging fortunes.
Fine Gael forms the major part of Ireland’s minority government.
An SDLP statement said: “Mark Durkan provided the people of Derry with a first-class public service for decades.
“He is a first-class parliamentarian and his regrettable absence on the benches of Westminster has not gone unnoticed by parties and communities alike.
“We wish him well in the upcoming European election. Ireland can only benefit from having Mark Durkan back on a parliament bench.”