Wednesday 22 November 2017

Northern Ireland's winners and losers in the 2017 General election

  • Lady Sylvia Hermon (Ind) holds North Down seat
  • Jim Shannon (DUP) holds Strangford seat
  • Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) holds Lagan Valley seat
  • Gregory Campbell (DUP) holds East Derry seat
  • Paul Maskey (SF) holds West Belfast seat
  • Paul Girvan (DUP) takes South Antrim seat from UUP
  • Ian Paisley (DUP) holds North Antrim seat
  • Sammy Wilson (DUP) holds East Antrim seat
  • Gavin Robinson (DUP) holds East Belfast seat
  • Nigel Dodds (DUP) holds North Belfast seat
  • Emma Little-Pengelly (DUP) takes South Belfast seat from SDLP
  • Francie Molloy (SF) holds Mid Ulster seat
  • Chris Hazzard (SF) takes South Down seat from SDLP
  • David Simpson (DUP) holds Upper Bann seat
  • Elisha McCallion (SF) takes Foyle seat from SDLP
  • Mickey Brady (SF) holds Newry & Armagh seat
  • Barry McElduff (SF) is elected in West Tyrone
  • Michelle Gildernew (SF) takes Fermanagh & South Tyrone seat from UUP
Picture: Belfast Telegraph
Picture: Belfast Telegraph
Sinn Fein leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill arrives at a polling station at St Patrick's primary school in Annaghmore, Clonoe to cast her vote in the General Election. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Here is a run-down of the winners and losers in Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies at the 2017 Westminster election:

NORTH DOWN

Independent Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon retained her seat in North Down and launched a broadside at Theresa May with a warning that her days are numbered.

The one-time shoo-in for the constituency said she was angry and disappointed after her election campaign turned into a re-run of the Brexit debate and a manifestation of fears over a border poll.

"I feel extremely angry and disappointed indeed that Theresa May called this election and look how we have ended up in Northern Ireland or could well possibly end up," she said.

"I think it's appalling.

"I think she's gone."

Lady Hermon was visibly emotional over the huge swing to the Democratic Unionists in her own constituency which shattered her massive 9,000 plus majority from the 2015 election.

She won the seat by only 1,208 votes from the DUP's Alex Easton.

Lady Hermon used her victory speech to urge Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill to reach a compromise on getting the Stormont Assembly back up and running.

She claimed Mrs May was ill-advised by insiders in No 10 into calling an "unnecessary election".

She added: "There was also the other factor ... this anxiety about a border poll, that every vote that is not a vote for the DUP will count against the unionist community.

"That is absolute nonsense and rubbish but I heard that repeatedly on the doorsteps."

 

LAGAN VALLEY

Northern Ireland's longest-serving MP has been returned again, with Sir Jeffrey Donaldson holding Lagan Valley.

Mr Donaldson secured 26,762 votes - an increase of more than 7,000 from the 2015 general election.

His nearest competitor, Ulster Unionist Robbie Butler, received 7,533 votes.

In his victory speech, Sir Jeffrey said that while "some were predicting doom and gloom" for the DUP, "the electorate has given (the party) a resounding result" in Lagan Valley.

"It is my hope this will be reflected across the province.

"We are the only party in Northern Ireland who wants to secure the best possible outcome of Brexit. Whatever the result nationally, the DUP will be there in Westminster making the case for Northern Ireland."

Sir Jeffrey also said it is essential to find a way to restore powersharing at Stormont over the coming weeks.

There was little surprise over Sir Jeffrey's solid victory. Lagan Valley has returned a DUP or UUP candidate in every Westminster election since the seat was created in 1983.

The incumbent has comfortably held the seat for the DUP since 2005.

In the 2015 ballot, Sir Jeffrey captured an impressive 47.9% of the vote share, which, although down slightly since his previous outing, was more than 30% ahead of the nearest competitor, the UUP's Alexander Redpath.

 

STRANGFORD

Democratic Unionist Jim Shannon has celebrated his phenomenal majority in Strangford by saying it was time to consider all unionists standing under the one banner.

With a margin of victory of close to 20,000 votes, the former soldier said: "I think the people of Strangford would like to see one unionist party.

"Maybe it's just time that we looked towards how we could make that happen.

"Where unionism could be served better by one party representing them all.

"That'd be a bigger threat to those who want to destroy the union, but I think it encourages our people. I think that's something I'd like to see develop."

One of Mr Shannon's nearest rivals, former Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt, secured just 4,419 votes in the Strangford constituency.

"It's mission impossible to try and close a five-figure gap in one campaign," he said.

Mr Nesbitt appeared to scotch Mr Shannon's suggestion of unifying unionist parties, adding: "I was happy to put my name forward in this constituency because it's important that Ulster Unionists have an Ulster Unionist to vote for."

And on the DUP's strong performance overall, he added: "It is what every local party in Northern Ireland hopes for, that they hold the balance of power and therefore have some degree of clout."

 

BELFAST WEST

In an unsurprising victory, Paul Maskey romped over the line to retain Belfast West for Sinn Fein.

The republican heartland has been a party stronghold since Gerry Adams was first elected in the early eighties, and few would have bet against another emphatic triumph.

Mr Maskey, a veteran politician, who has held the mantle since Mr Adams' departure to the Dail six years ago, polled a record 27,107 votes.

He embraced family members and party colleagues as the results were read out.

Addressing cheering supporters at Belfast's Titanic Exhibition Centre, the elated MP said: "West Belfast is one of the finest constituencies and the people in it are the backbone of Ireland.

"Maybe it is a fluke, maybe it's not, but this day 34 years ago Gerry Adams took this seat for the first time for Sinn Fein in West Belfast.

"I am delighted to continue on in his footsteps."

In line with Sinn Fein's abstentionist policy, Mr Maskey will not take his seat at Westminster.

His closest rival was the DUP's Frank McCoubrey, who received 5,455 votes.

Mr McCoubrey was given a rapturous reception as he took to the podium where he said, despite the predictable outcome, it was a good night for unionism.

Meanwhile, Sorcha Eastwood of the Alliance Party, who polled 731 votes, was not at the count centre to hear the result, as polling day coincided with her wedding.

 

FOYLE

Sinn Fein has pulled off a sensational scalp by defeating the SDLP in its heartland.

Amid scenes of disbelief at the Foyle count centre, Elisha McCallion - herself shaking with adrenaline - beat outgoing MP Mark Durkan by a slim 169 votes.

It was a historic and ground-breaking performance in what was the SDLP's safest seat.

The nationalist party had held the constituency since it was created in 1983, for many years under its former leader John Hume, a revered figure in Derry.

Three of its six leaders - including current leader Colum Eastwood - are from the city.

An emotional Mr Durkan, himself a former party leader, apologised to SDLP founder Mr Hume "if any shortcomings on my part have led us to any sense of a dent in the truth for which he endeavoured".

"I take any responsibility I have for this result," he said.

Sinn Fein chief Martin McGuinness's widow Bernie travelled to join in the celebrations, along with his successor as the party's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill.

Ms McCallion, 35, a popular former mayor of Derry, claimed during the campaign to be a new voice for a new era.

On taking her seat, she said: "There's partying to be done."

As jubilant supporters chanted her name, she said: "I can't not express my extreme delight at being the first ever republican MP for Foyle."

Mr Durkan was sitting MP since 2005, and was 6,000 votes ahead of Sinn Fein last time around.

Also rans were the Democratic Unionist Party's Gary Middleton, Alliance's John Doherty and Shaun Harkin for People Before Profit.

 

DERRY EAST

DUP veteran Gregory Campbell has coasted to victory, taking nearly half the votes in East Londonderry.

There was never any fear of him losing the seat he has held since taking it from unionist rivals the UUP 16 years ago.

He managed to stretch his lead even further, adding almost 5,000 votes since the last general election, as the UUP share slid further.

Mr Campbell's outspoken views play well in the hinterland, which takes in Coleraine and Limavady, a predominantly unionist constituency.

At the count centre, he suggested his party was on for a hard-nosed "power struggle" to help establish an incoming government at Westminster.

"If it is a hung parliament, I think for those who have chosen not to take up their seats, their voters will regret it," he said.

"If there is a power struggle we will want to negotiate strong and hard for Northern Ireland.

"We will not be a Northern Ireland branch of the Conservative Party. We have voted for them when they have done the right thing and we have voted against them when they haven't.

"Should it be down to one vote, that remains the case."

Dermot Nicholl pushed up Sinn Fein's vote by almost 4,000 seats to 10,881.

 

BELFAST EAST

The DUP's Gavin Robinson defied the pundits to retain his East Belfast seat in emphatic fashion.

The former Belfast mayor held off the challenge of the former MP for the area, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long.

Mrs Long had been tipped by the bookies to regain the seat she wrested off former DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2010 - primarily because the DUP had failed to sustain the electoral pact it struck with the Ulster Unionists in 2015.

But despite a UUP candidate in the field, Mr Robinson romped home with almost 24,000 seats and a majority of around 8,500.

"Wow, what a result," Mr Robinson said, barely audible above the cheers of Union flag-waving supporters inside the Belfast count centre.

"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for the fantastic support I received from my team."

Mr Robinson was criticised for the tone of his acceptance speech in his 2015 victory. He struck a much more conciliatory note as he celebrated his second Westminster win, crediting his opponents for conducting an "enjoyable and fair campaign".

Mr Robinson said he and party colleagues would work to secure the best possible deal for Northern Ireland as the UK leaves the EU.

"As we watch the television screens and we watch the reports coming from Great Britain, you just see how important it is that we have a strong voice from Northern Ireland in Westminster," he said.

 

BELFAST NORTH

The DUP's Nigel Dodds hailed his fifth consecutive victory as a win for democracy and representation.

Speaking to the enthused Union flag-waving crowd at Belfast's Titanic Exhibition Centre, the veteran politician said: "This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for representation and it is a victory which represents the largest DUP vote in the last 20 years.

"The DUP, in this election in north Belfast, has made history and there's more to come. This election was fought in the face of terrible terrorist atrocities across the UK and in this next parliament the DUP will play a very important role in terms of the great challenges that this country faces."

He polled 21,240 votes.

As the results were read out, a smiling Mr Dodds clutched his MEP wife Diane Dodds before turning to give the thumbs up to the scores of supporters including party leader Arlene Foster and his two new Westminster colleagues Gavin Robinson and Emma Little Pengelly.

Referencing his party's bolstered strength, he added: "We will play a full role in parliament as we did in the last parliament. And we will make our influence felt on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland.

"This is turning into a great night, not just for the DUP but a great night for the Union."

Sinn Fein's John Finucane, who received 19,159 votes, expressed pride in his first electoral campaign.

Mr Finucane, who saw his solicitor father Pat Finucane shot dead by loyalists in 1989, said: "I am exceptionally proud to have returned the biggest mandate any republican has ever returned in north Belfast."

 

SOUTH DOWN

Sinn Fein has dramatically seized the long-time SDLP stronghold of South Down.

Chris Hazzard has become the republican party's first MP in the area with 20,328 votes.

Mr Hazzard beat the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie - who had held the seat from 2010 - by more than 2,000 votes.

In his victory speech, Mr Hazzard said he was delighted the Sinn Fein message "has resonated so positively and popularly this year".

"We are now entering a new era in South Down," he said.

Mr Hazzard added that Sinn Fein "will fight Brexit and Tory austerity" and said he "can't wait to get stuck in".

Ms Ritchie - who easily beat Mr Hazzard in the 2015 general election - said Brexit had changed the political landscape but insisted she was "going to live and fight another day".

"I can hold my head high here tonight because of the level of service and representation provided by me and the SDLP over the last number of years.

"I am not going away. I am going to live and fight another day. The people of South Down also want service and representation. They want that delivered here in the constituency and also in parliament," Ms Ritchie said.

Sinn Fein had put a massive effort into winning the constituency, a seat which the SDLP had held since 1997.

Ms Ritchie first won the seat in 2010 after taking over from her friend and mentor, the late Eddie McGrady.

 

SOUTH BELFAST

Emma Little Pengelly hailed her long time mentor Peter Robinson for helping mastermind her victory.

The former DUP leader and Stormont first minister came out of political retirement to manage his one-time special adviser's Westminster campaign.

As Mr Robinson looked on, amid a crowd of DUP supporters cheering the capture of a seat long held by the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell, Mrs Little Pengelly paid tribute.

"I know Peter has come out of retirement to help and support me in this campaign and he has been absolutely invaluable," she said.

"I think many people have referenced that he was looking very relaxed and I hope he does not look a bit more stressed than he was six weeks ago.

"I want to thank him absolutely for doing that for me and I know everybody in our team appreciates that as well."

Months after narrowly losing out on securing an Assembly seat in the constituency, Mrs Little Pengelly was overjoyed to revive her political career with a 2,000-vote win over Mr McDonnell.

"This is an incredible day for unionism in South Belfast," she said.

The former Stormont junior minister said she wanted to build a brighter future in the area, filled with "tolerance and respect, regardless of our difference on policy or politics, on race or religion".

"Together we will move forward to build the beautiful, brighter future I know we all want to see," she said.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News