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General Election 2015: DUP's Gavin Robinson ousts Alliance's Naomi Long in East Belfast

Naomi Long increased her personal vote in East Belfast but it wasn't enough to stem the challenge of the DUP who regained the seat once held by First Minister Peter Robinson.

Former Belfast mayor Gavin Robinson beat outgoing MP Naomi Long in a contest that saw the vote of both parties soar on 2010.

Mrs Long won the seat in sensational fashion five years ago by defeating DUP leader Peter Robinson.

The DUP had been intent on regaining it ever since and, helped by an electoral pact with the Ulster Unionists, delivered the much-craved win by a majority of over 2,500.

"I am delighted the last five long years are over," said the winning candidate, Mr Robinson.

"I am delighted a new day has dawned in East Belfast."

He said voters had backed "someone they could trust".

Mr Robinson said: "This has been an interesting election, it has been a polarising election, it is an election that has energised people right across the constituency and you can see that in the votes.

"People have been motivated to come out in increasing numbers in East Belfast. I think that has been good for democracy."

He said the constituency had picked a party strong on the Union rather than the agnostic position offered by Alliance.

Mr Robinson polled 19,575 votes to Mrs Long's 16,978. In distant third were the Conservatives with 1,121.

Mrs Long pointed out that her vote had gone up by around 4,000 on 2010.

She said her party's campaign was "unrivalled" in the history of Northern Ireland politics

"We polled the best vote Alliance has ever polled," she said.

"I want to say a huge thank you to the constituents who have backed me, to those who came out and voted in unprecedented numbers to support the vision Alliance put to them - a positive vision for Northern Ireland and its future, not a negative one."

In one of the shocks of the night, DUP veteran Dr Willie McCrea lost his South Antrim seat to Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan.

Gospel singing Dr McCrea came from the DUP's fundamentalist wing and has been usurped by former soldier Mr Kinahan, who has made a reputation as a hard-working member of the Stormont Assembly.

Mr Kinahan said it will be an immense privilege to serve as MP for South Antrim.

In North Antrim Ian Paisley, the son of the late DUP founder of the same name, took the seat.

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has romped home with a huge 13,000 majority and returned as MP for Lagan Valley for the fifth time.

He took the safe seat with 19,055 votes.

Mr Donaldson said it was a “good natured” campaign, after increasing his majority by more than 2,500 from his 2010 win.

Ulster Unionist Alexander Redpath finished second and paid tribute to his DUP opponent on his win.

But from early in the night it felt like a foregone conclusion for the 52-year-old seasoned politician, as Jeffrey Donaldson's ballot papers began piling up onto a second table.

Overall turnout was stood at 39,986 – representing 56.19% of the electorate in the constituency. 

Young lawyer and councillor Alexander Redpath finished second on 6,055 votes, while Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn was next with 5,544.

He took just over 4,000 votes in 2010.

SDLP man Pat Catney received 2,500 votes, with Ukip's Alan Love on 2,200.​

Independent unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon has called on the next government to find the glue to keep the UK together after romping to victory in North Down.

The one-time Ulster Unionist, widow of former RUC chief constable Sir John Hermon, held on to her Westminster seat with 17,689 votes shattering a failed challenge from the Democratic Unionist Party.

But Lady Hermon dismissed any suggestion that she would wield any influence over the make-up of the next government.

"David Cameron has a number of parties and people he can call upon but I don't list myself among them, I'm not expecting any phone call any time soon, and that's not a disappointment," she said.

 

East Belfast

Gavin Robinson, DUP - 19,575

Naomi Long, Alliance Party - 16,978

Neil Wilson, Conservative Party - 1,121

Ross Brown, Green Party - 1,058

Niall Ó Donnghaile, Sinn Féin - 823

Mary Muldoon, SDLP - 127

South Antrim

Danny Kinahan, UUP - 11,942

William McCrea, DUP - 10,993

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin - 4,699

Neil Kelly, Alliance Party - 3,576

Roisin Lynch, SDLP - 2,990

Richard Cairns, TUV - 1,908

Alan Dunlop, Conservative Party - 415

Strangford

Jim Shannon, DUP - 15,053

Robert Burgess, UUP - 4,868

Kellie Armstrong, Alliance Party - 4,687

Joe Boyle, SDLP - 2,335

Joe Jordan, UKIP - 2,237

Johnny Andrews, Conservative Party - 2,167

Stephen Cooper, TUV - 1,701

Sheila Bailie, Sinn Féin - 876

North Antrim

Ian Paisley, DUP - 18,107

Timothy Gaston, TUV - 6,561

Daithí McKay, Sinn Féin - 5,143

Robin Swann, UUP - 5,054

Declan O'Loan, SDLP - 2,925

Jayne Dunlop, Alliance Party - 2,351

Robert Hill, UKIP - 1,341

Carol Freeman, Conservative Party - 368

Thomas Palmer, Independent - 57

Foyle

Mark Durkan, SDLP - 17,725

Gearóid Ó Heára, Sinn Féin - 11,679

Gary Middleton, DUP - 4,573

Julia Kee, UUP - 1,226

David Hawthorne, Alliance Party - 835

Kyle Thompson, UKIP - 832

Hamish Badenoch, Conservative Party - 132

West Tyrone

Pat Doherty, Sinn Féin - 16,807

Tom Buchanan, DUP - 6,747

Daniel McCrossan, SDLP - 6,444

Ross Hussey, UUP - 6,144

Stephen Donnelly, Alliance Party - 869

Ciaran McClean, Green Party - 780

Barry Brown, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol - 528

Claire-Louise Leyland, Conservative Party - 169

Susan-Anne White, Independent - 166

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