Belfast Telegraph

Lagan Valley

There's a fresh face of unionism set to challenge the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson in Lagan Valley.

Ulster Unionist and former firefighter Robbie Butler will be hoping the party can secure a larger share of the vote than Alexander Redpath's 15% in 2015.

Mr Donaldson romped home with a huge 13,000 majority to return as MP for Lagan Valley for the fifth time two years ago.

He took the safe seat with 19,055 votes, in what was the first result announced during the last General Election.

It had been smooth sailing for the Lagan Valley count, with ballot boxes landing in the leisure centre shortly after 10pm.

And Mr Donaldson increased his share, with another 2,500 votes from his 2010 win.

Newly elected SDLP MLA Pat Catney will be throwing his hat into the ring, after squeezing in the last Assembly seat just three months ago.

Independent Jonny Orr, a man who once dressed as Darth Vader, will return as a candidate.

In 2010 he managed to out-poll Tory candidate Helen Osborne. This time Ian Nickels will run for the party.

Jacqui Russell will run in the safe unionist seat for Sinn Fein, while councillor Aaron McIntyre will join the contest for Alliance — replacing sitting MLA Trevor Lunn, who ran in Lagan Valley in 2015.

Overall turnout in 2015 was 39,986, representing 56.19% of the electorate in the constituency.

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