Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Constituency profile: North Down

A constituency of haves and have-yachts should mean many floating boaters but North Down is more diverse than common perception has it while in many ways remaining ‘a place apart’ where political brands can translate differently.





But no sea-change this election?

She may have resigned from the Ulster Unionists, but Lady Sylvia Hermon is presenting a “steady as she goes” message to her support base.

The decision of the DUP to stand aside should also flow in her favour yet could conceivably also dissuade Catholics and other moderates from voting and blow her off course.

In 2005 she was almost 5,000 votes ahead of the DUP’s Peter Weir who still polled well over 11,000 votes — almost 8,000 ahead of nearest rival David Alderdice for Alliance with all others around 1,000 votes or less.

So the tide is in her direction?

So it would seem. The Ulster Unionist Conservative alliance is left with a candidate who, until recently, was just, well, Alliance. Ian Parsley defected from David Ford’s party even before the ripples of the European election, in which he was Alliance candidate, had left Bangor bay.

So is the Lady home in a, er, boat?

Not necessarily. If opponents manage to establish a firm link between her and Labour in voters’ minds it could affect her majority.

The nominations are:

Steven Agnew, Green

Stephen Farry, Alliance

Sylvia Hermon, Independent

Kaye Kilpatrick, Traditional Unionist Voice

Liam Logan, Social Democratic & Labour Party

Vincent Parker, Sinn Fein

Ian Parsley, Ulster Conservatives and Unionists — New Force

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