Belfast Telegraph

Long sails home as BBC gets it so wrong on Newton

East Belfast

By Ivan Little

An on-air Oscars-style gaffe that saw the BBC announce a wrong result in East Belfast led to red faces.

Thousands of bleary-eyed TV viewers heard Mark Carruthers say that Stormont Speaker Robin Newton had been eliminated.

He had been in a tense and drawn-out battle with DUP colleague David Douglas for the final seat here.

And that led to commentator Fionnuala O'Connor delivering a withering critique of the 71-year-old DUP man's career. But just minutes later there was a La La Land moment when Carruthers said the Beeb had made a mistake. Newton was declared the winner after the programme had gone off air.

There was no such confusion for the Alliance Party. Its leader Naomi Long sailed home on the first count and her running partner Chris Lyttle was the next to romp across the line.

The UUP's Andy Allen got in, and ruled himself out of the race to succeed Mike Nesbitt, while the DUP's Joanne Bunting retained her seat.

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