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DUP's Donaldson romps home in Lagan Valley with huge increase in his majority

By John Mulgrew

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson walked away with Lagan Valley, romping home with a huge surge in his share of the vote.

He increased his vote to 26,762 - an almost 20,000 majority. That was up from 13,000 two years ago.

Sir Jeffrey paid tribute to his team, saying it was a "great honour" to be returned again.

"To be returned with my largest ever vote, and my largest ever majority," he said. Mr Donaldson said he gave "full credit" to the people of Lagan Valley for electing him again.

"I commit to work on behalf of everyone in my constituency, as their member of Parliament."

He also paid tribute to the other candidates, and said the DUP "will be serious players" if there is a hung parliament.

Across the safe DUP seat, turnout was up on 2015, rising from 56.2% to 62.23% this time around, with a total of 45,044 votes.

A declaration was finally called after 1am.

Ulster Unionist Robbie Butler, a former firefighter, managed 7,533 votes

The Alliance Party's newcomer to the Westminster race, Aaron McIntyre, pulled in a respectable 4,996.

SDLP MLA Pat Catney landed 3,384 votes, just three months after squeezing in the last Assembly seat in March.

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