Assembly member and MP for South Belfast Dr Alasdair McDonnell has been elected the new leader of the SDLP at its conference in Belfast.

He succeeds former leader Margaret Ritchie, who had decided to stand down and concentrate on her role as South Down MP in Westminster.

Dr McDonnell was born in Co Antrim and educuated in Dublin.

The GP is the fifth person to fill the position, which was previously held by Gerry Fitt, John Hume, Mark Durkan and Ms Ritchie.

In winning the leadership contest he beat three other party candidates; Alex Attwood, Conall McDevitt and Patsy McGlone.

Mr Attwood was eliminated after the first count of votes, with Mr McGlone being eliminated next.

Dr McDonnell was declared the winner on the third count, with 188 votes to Mr McDevitt's 152.

The party's electorate is made up of Assembly members, MPs, members of the party's Executive and 240 branch delegates. Branches are entitled to one vote for every ten members.