Belfast Telegraph

Wilson sees off Beggs' challenge

Sammy Wilson retained his East Antrim seat comfortably - a seat the DUP man has held since 2005 and always looked safe for the party.

He received 12,103 votes - down 1,890 on his 2010 Westminster triumph, but still 5,795 more than his closest rival, Roy Beggs of the UUP.

Mr Wilson said: "I thank the voters of East Antrim for the confidence which they have put in me again as their public representative.

"In the event of a hung parliament, in the event of us having leverage, we have a plan. We have objectives which we wish to achieve to improve the lives for all of the people in Northern Ireland, to improve the economy in Northern Ireland, to improve public services, to ensure there is fairness and equality and to strengthen the Union."

Ulster Unionist Mr Beggs, who undoubtedly hoped to take the seat his father Roy Beggs Snr lost to Mr Wilson 10 years earlier after holding it for 22 years, received 6,308 votes.

Mr Wilson and Mr Beggs faced competition from two other Assembly members - the Alliance Party's Stewart Dickson (5,021 votes) and Oliver McMullan of Sinn Fein (2,314 votes), who was running for the East Antrim Westminster seat for the second time.

Ukip's Noel Jordan had a sizeable chunk of the vote, coming in fourth with 3,660 - one of 10 Ukip candidates hoping to put the party on the map in Northern Ireland.

Conservative Alex Wilson trailed in last with 549 votes.

A constituency which is overwhelmingly unionist - with a turnout of 53.63% - it was always considered to be somewhat of a shoo-in for former finance minister Mr Wilson.

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