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Constituency profile: Lagan Valley

Five years ago, Daphne Trimble witnessed General Election anguish at first hand as her UUP leader husband David lost his Upper Bann seat to the DUP's David Simpson.

It was the culmination of years of being ground down by anti-Belfast Agreement elements in unionism. One of the foremost grinders was Jeffrey Donaldson, who by that stage had left Trimble's party and joined the DUP.

This election sees a Trimble v Donaldson rematch, with Daphne taking on her husband's nemesis. Only this time, Mr Donaldson is also on the side of unionists sharing power with Sinn Fein at Stormont. Who says politics doesn't change?

Who starts ahead?

To say Mr Donaldson will prove hard to beat is a bit of an understatement.

In 2005, the DUP's recruit from the UUP finished 14,117 votes ahead.

This time around there is another unionist challenger in the form of solicitor Keith Harbinson. The TUV man came third in the 2008 Dromore Council by-election. His showing led to the DUP candidate missing out.

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The map in Lagan Valley has, meanwhile, been redrawn, making the new constituency 6.4% less Catholic, and 6.1% more Protestant.

There is likely to be a battle for the nationalist vote between Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler and the SDLP's Brian Heading. Alliance runner and MLA Trevor Lunn will be hoping to keep his electoral base intact.

The word on the streets?

Nobody really believes that Jeffrey Donaldson will lose his seat, despite some disaffection with the DUP.

The nominations are:

Paul Butler (Sinn Fein)

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP)

Keith Harbinson (TUV)

Brian Heading (SDLP)

Trevor Lunn (Alliance)

Daphne Trimble (Ulster Conservatives and Unionists — New Force)

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