Belfast Telegraph

Donaldson romps home in Valley

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has romped to victory in Lagan Valley with almost half of the votes polled, sporting a 13,000 lead against his nearest rival.

There was never any doubt he would hold on to his seat but he managed to increase the party's majority by almost 1,000 - with 19,055 votes - compared with the last Westminster election in 2010.

The gain, the first result of the night in Northern Ireland, came even though the turnout remained relatively static to five years ago, with 56% of the 71,152 electorate turning out to vote.

Responding to his comfortable win at the count centre in Lisburn, Mr Donaldson said: "The DUP has had many things said about it in this election.

"But here in Lagan Valley, we have increased our vote and increased our majority with a resounding mandate from the people of this constituency.

"We are so successful here because we don't take people for granted.

"We have a very strong team that works together and goes out and fights for every single vote.

"We take nothing for granted, we work hard as a team, we care about what happens to ordinary people that we represent."

Trevor Lunn of the Alliance Party was another winner of the night, with a 32% increase in the party's votes.

The party gained 1,370 votes and speaking after the figures were announced, Mr Lunn said the size of the increase was unexpected.

"We didn't really know what was going to happen," he said.

"There has been a lot of stuff thrown at the Alliance Party over the last couple of years.

"The message on the doorstep was hard to read, quite frankly.

"We thought we would get an improvement but didn't expect 32%.

"I'm very pleased with that, we are now very close to the UUP in Lagan Valley, we were only 500 votes behind and it augurs well for the Assembly election."

The gains made by the DUP and the Alliance Party seemed to come at the expense of the UUP, which dropped more than 1,500 votes compared with the last Westminster election.

The party's candidate, Alexander Redpath, polled 6,055 votes.

However, Daphne Trimble, the wife of former party leader, managed 7,713 votes when she stood under the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force (UCUNF) ticket.

The total results for Lagan Valley were: Pat Catney (SDLP) 2,500; Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) 19,055; Alan Love (UKIP) 2,200; Trevor Lunn (Alliance) 5,544; Jacqui McGeough (Sinn Fein) 1,144; Samuel Morrison (TUV) 1,887; Jonny Orr (Independent) 756; Helen Osbourne (Conservatives) 654; Alexander Redpath (UUP) 6,055.


From Belfast Telegraph