Belfast Telegraph

Robinson rules out Westminster bid

Peter Robinson reaffirmed his standing in East Belfast in emphatic fashion but has ruled out trying to win back his Westminster seat.

After storming home as the poll topper in a constituency that rejected him in stunning fashion at the general election a year ago, the DUP leader said he would leave the task of retaking his Commons seat to someone younger.

"I hadn't wanted to stand in the last Westminster election and I allowed colleagues to force me to stand on that occasion. They'll not do it again," he said.

"We've got a lot of young new talent in the (local party) association, an opportunity for somebody to make their mark in Westminster."

Mr Robinson's 9,149 first preference votes was almost 5,000 more than second-placed Alliance candidate Judith Cochrane. But it was far from a bad election for the Alliance, which doubled its seat count to two despite the loss of Ms Long to Westminster. The party has insisted the DUP will have a fight on its hands if it hopes to win back her seat in the Commons.

Party colleague Chris Lyttle will join Mrs Cochrane at Stormont, while Mr Robinson's fellow DUP candidates Sammy Douglas and Robin Newton both made it with some to spare. The UUP's Michael Copeland landed the sixth seat at the expense of independent incumbent Dawn Purvis and PUP leader Brian Ervine.

Domestic violence will top the political agenda of a woman elected for the DUP in South Antrim, the victorious candidate has pledged.

New face Pam Lewis, 39, was swept to the Assembly on a tide of women's group support, but admitted she had not expected her success.

As mayor of Antrim Council she built close ties with local charities Macmillan Cancer Support and Women's Aid and credited their backing for her victory. "Domestic abuse is something that is rife in our community, it is endemic in society and is something that people put up with and it is ignored," she added.

The married mother of two boys and a girl is constituency office manager for MP and MLA Sammy Wilson in Larne, Co Antrim. Mr Wilson joked that she would now have to give a month's notice.

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