The SDLP has launched its Stormont Assembly election campaign.

Party leader Colum Eastwood urged voters to concentrate on day to day issues and not the battle between the DUP and Sinn Féin to be the largest party.

The party held 12 of the 90 seats in the last Assembly and is fielding 22 candidates in next month's election.

The SDLP message is that Stormont has not delivered for people, so change is needed and the growing cost of living crisis should be the priority.

Mr Eastwood said the election has to be about more than who wins the battle between Sinn Féin and the DUP to be the largest party and take the post of First Minister.

"I'm sick of knocking on doors in places like Derry and people are answering the door with their coat on. People can't even afford to turn the heating on and they're worried about whether they can put food on the table," he said.

"I think the real change that people want to see isn't the change of a title between two political leaders who've been running this place for the past 15 years, it's change in people's pockets, it's change on the ground.

"This election can't be about who gets to call themselves first and who gets to call themselves deputy. The doors I'm knocking, the people coming into my office don't care about that at all."

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The party launched its campaign in the electoral stronghold of Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin holds four of the five Stormont Assembly seats in the constituency, with the fifth held by People Before Profit.

It probably needs to hold all of those seats to have a chance of emerging as largest party for the first time.

More candidates are seeking election in Belfast West than in any other constituency, with 17 names on the ballot paper.

The SDLP candidate is Paul Doherty, who is well known in the area and runs a local food bank.

The constituency includes both the staunchly nationals Falls Road and the staunchly unionist Shankill Road.

Speaking at the campaign launch this morning, he also appealed to voters to focus on day to day matters.

"Whether you live in the Falls or in the Shankill, people are dealing with the same issues," he said.

"People are dealing with the rising cost of food, fuel and energy bills, and they just don't have the money to pay."


Read more: Profiles for all 18 constituencies