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Easy, easy, Sinn Fein win

Published 08/05/2015

Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty won with a 16,807 majority
Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty won with a 16,807 majority

Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty has been re-elected to serve a fourth term as West Tyrone MP.

In an unsurprising result, the Glasgow-born father of five topped the poll with 16,807 votes, commanding another massive majority.

He said: "Happiness is winning or re-winning West Tyrone. And also to retaining a 10,000-plus majority."

Mr Doherty, a former Sinn Fein vice-president who has held the seat since 2001, had a majority of more than 10,000 in 2010 and was again odds-on favourite to retain the seat.

Amid deafening cheers and chants of "easy, easy, easy", he told supporters: "There were some serious matters that we were dealing with in the campaign - obviously our strong stance against austerity - and even though the Conservative candidate in herself is a very nice person, I think the vote that the Tories got is an indication of what West Tyrone thinks of austerity.

"I would like to reiterate: West Tyrone is a republican constituency and we are very proud that it is a republican constituency."

The declaration at Omagh Leisure Centre was made at about 1.45am.

Runner-up Tom Buchanan from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) received 6,747 votes, just ahead of third-placed SDLP candidate Daniel McCrossan, who had 6,444 ballots.

Mr Buchanan said he did not accept claims that the constituency was a republican seat.

He said: "I want to thank the electorate for consolidating the DUP vote.

"When I hear Pat Doherty saying about West Tyrone being nationalist... what nonsense - 56% of people in West Tyrone did not vote for nationalism and did not vote for republicanism."

Turnout was 61% with a total of 39,014 votes cast, of which 353 were declared invalid.

Although the count was completed relatively swiftly, it fell outside the two-and-a-half-hour record set five years ago.

Also among the nine candidates on the ballot paper were Ross Hussey of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) who received 6,144 votes and Stephen Donnelly from the Alliance Party, who took 869 votes.

One of the most controversial characters was Susan-Anne White, a devout Christian who thinks homosexuality should be criminalised, adulterers jailed and feminism abolished, who received just 166 votes.

Barry Brown of the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party also polled poorly with 528 votes while the Conservative candidate Claire-Louise Leyland, a Camden councillor who first visited the constituency a month before the election campaign kicked off, was backed by just 169 voters.

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