With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing July 4 as the date of the UK General Election on Wednesday afternoon, political parties across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales will have gone into overdrive to begin their preparations for what could be a hugely significant vote.

It was always a case of when and not if Mr. Sunak would call an election and now we have the date.

Polls suggest the Tories are on the verge of almost total wipeout with Labour and Keir Starmer likely to step into the void left by 14 years of Conservative rule.

Immigration, poverty, cost of living, health and education will be major issues for prospective MPs.

In Northern Ireland, they will also have to look at the ongoing issues around Brexit and the conversation around a United Ireland.

Among the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and South Tyrone (FST), it may be that a new name will come out in front as well.

Sitting MP, Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Féin is currently canvassing to try and win a seat at the European Elections in the Republic of Ireland in the Midlands/North West constituency.

If elected in June she will likely not run in the General Election. However, if she was not elected, what is there to say that she will not run for re-election in FST?

There is only one confirmed candidate in FST – Diana Armstrong of the Ulster Unionists.

For years, the UUP candidate in FST was Tom Elliott but he has decided not to put his name forward and Councillor Armstrong, whose father Harry West was an MP in the 1970s.

She was selected by her party back in January.

While it is all hypothetical at the minute as to who could join her on the ballot paper, we look at some of those you might just see there and will be looking for your vote.

Sinn Féin – Michelle Gildernew; Colm Gildernew; Jemma Dolan

Michelle Gildernew is the sitting MP. Although she hopes to be elected in the European Elections at the start of June, running again for Westminster may well be a fallback if unsuccessful.

The Tyrone native reclaimed the seat in 2019 with the UUP’s Tom Elliott being her closest rival.

Her brother, Colm, may feel he has put in the work at Stormont to make the step up if his sister is successful in the South. He has been chair of various committees in the Assembly including the Health Committee.

Jemma Dolan may also be touted as a potential runner for Sinn Féin. She topped FST in the Assembly elections in May of last year.

DUP – Deborah Erskine

Seen by many as the successor to Arlene Foster, Mrs. Erksine’s rise in the DUP has been significant.

Elected to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in 2019 she then took over Mrs. Foster’s seat when she stepped down.

That seat was held at the elections in 2023 and she is well regarded within DUP circles and was handed the chair of the Infrastructure committee following the restoration of power in Northern Ireland.

Alliance Party – Eddie Roofe

Alliance’s growth in recent years has certainly caught the eye, especially in the east of Northern Ireland.

The West was a harder nut to crack but the party has been diligent in its work.

That was seen in 2019 with the election of Stephen Donnelly to FODC and then in 2023 when Donnelly was re-elected and Eddie Roofe became the first-ever party councillor in Fermanagh.

It also makes it reasonable to expect that if the party run a candidate in FST it will be Councillor Roofe.

SDLP – Adam Gannon

Councillor Gannon was elected to FODC in 2019 and also ran in the General Election of the same year.

He was re-elected to FODC in 2023 as the SDLP had a somewhat tough local election campaign.

One of the most high-profile SDLP councillors in FODC and has ambitions in politics, so it would not be surprising to see him on the ballot paper once more.

These are some of the potential runners and riders in FST for the July 4 General Election apart from Councillor Armstrong, until the parties officially announce their candidates.