Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

At a glance: Northern Ireland’s 2019 General Election winners and losers


John Finucane at the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
John Finucane at the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Nigel Dodds during the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
SDLP's Claire Hanna wins a seat in South Belfast at the General Election Count at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast during the Early hours of Friday morning. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Emma Pengelly and Arlene Foster during the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood is elected MP (Niall Carson/PA)
Sinn Fein's Elisha McCallion pictured at the count centre in Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party with party leader Naomi Long after he won the North Down constituency in the UK General Election at the Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex, Bangor, Northern Ireland. Michael Cooper/PA Wire
Alex Easton, DUP pictured at the count centre in Bangor. Photo by Brian Little / Press Eye
Gavin Robinson with his wife Lindsey and party leader Arlene Foster pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Naomi Long during the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Michelle O'Neill and Paul Maskey pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast for Belfast East, Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast North, East Antrim & South Down. Sammy Wilson pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Steve Aiken pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
The DUP’s Gregory Campbell is returned s MP for East Londonderry. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew pictured with Michelle ONeill at the count centre in Omagh after winning the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.
UUP Tom Elliott pictured at the count centre in Omagh. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has held his seat in Lagan Valley pictured at the count centre in Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Sinn Féin Francie Molloy is returned as MP for Mid Ulster. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady(centre) is returned as MP for Newry and Armagh. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
The DUP's Ian Paisley (left) is returned as MP for North Antrim. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th December 2019 General Election 2019 - Election count at Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt for Newry & Armagh, South Antrim, North Antrim, Upper Bann, East Londonderry, Foyle, Lagan Valley and Mid Ulster. The DUPÕs Paul Girvan(left) is returned as MP for South Antrim. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Chris Hassard, centre, pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th December 2019 - General Election 2019 - Election count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor for Strangford and North Down. Jim Shannon, DUP with his mother Mona and wife Sandra after being elected in Strangford. Photo by Brian LittleÊ / Press Eye
The DUP's Carla Lockhart is returned as MP for Upper Bann and is pictured with her baby boy Charlie. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Sinn Fein's Orfhlaith Begley pictured after she won her seat back in West Tyrone Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

Here is a run-down of the winners and losers in Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies at the 2019 General Election after a dramatic night which saw the DUP lose two Belfast seats and the SDLP and Alliance return to Westminster.

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Belfast North: Sinn Fein gain

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John Finucane at the General Election count in Belfast on December 12th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

It had been billed as the bitter battle for a DUP hotseat but in the end it was Sinn Fein who savoured the sweet taste of victory in North Belfast, in one of the biggest shocks of the night.

The republican party's rising star John Finucane trumped the DUP veteran and deputy leader Nigel Dodds by just under 2,000 votes.

Sinn Fein's new MP said North Belfast has rejected Brexit after winning the seat from incumbent, the DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

Mr Finucane took the seat with 23,078 votes ahead of his rival who finished on 21,135 votes.

The Sinn Fein man, who benefited from a pro-Remain alliance with the SDLP and Green Party who stood aside in support of him, said: “I want to thank each and every person who came out to vote for me today and I also want to acknowledge here tonight that there were those who stretched themselves and I know that this election was an election that transcended party politics and I know that I was very much the beneficiary of that today."

He added: "As an MP I pledge to you all tonight that I will work for every single person in this constituency whether you voted for me or not."

Mr Dodds, who had held the seat since 2001, said he "regrets North Belfast will be left unrepresented in the House of Commons at a challenging time".

Belfast South: SDLP gain

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SDLP's Claire Hanna wins a seat in South Belfast at the General Election Count at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast during the Early hours of Friday morning. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

It had been expected to be a tight race between Claire Hanna of the SDLP and the DUP incumbent Emma Little-Pengelly, but when the results were confirmed it emerged that the gap was over 15,000 votes.

Ms Hanna topped the poll with 27,079 votes ahead of Ms Little-Pengelly with 11,678 votes.

Both Sinn Fein and the Green Party took the decision not to run candidates in South Belfast, instead backing Ms Hanna on a pro-Remain platform.

Ms Hanna paid tribute to Ms Little-Pengelly, saying her hard work and dedication to the constituency "had never been in doubt".

She also paid tribute to Green Party leader Clare Bailey for her decision to back her, saying the pro Remain arrangements "was clearly a move that had borne fruit across Northern Ireland in the seats that have been gained".

"We know there is no good form of Brexit, we have many, many challenges ahead of us but we do know that the relationships that we have to protect within Northern Ireland and on an east west basis and north south basis have to be nurtured," she said.

Ms Little-Pengelly congratulated Ms Hanna before thanking her own DUP team and commenting: "We knew things were going to be very challenging for us in South Belfast in a constituency with 33,000 people voted remain at a time when Brexit has not been resolved one way or another.”

Foyle: SDLP gain

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SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood is elected MP (Niall Carson/PA)
 

What was initially thought to be a tight race saw the SDLP's Colum Eastwood win back the Foyle seat from Sinn Fein's Elisha McCallion with a huge majority, as the SDLP confirmed their comeback in Northern Irish politics.

The SDLP leader received 26,881 votes, against Ms McCallion's 9,771.

Ms McCallion was previously elected in 2017 from Mr Eastwood's colleague Mark Durkan by the tightest of margins with only 169 votes, in what is historically an SDLP heartland and the home of former leader John Hume.

Mr Eastwood said that he was keen for Northern Ireland to "get back to work".

"This is a story about the revival of the SDLP but it's more about the message and desire of the people of our city and the people of the north generally," he said.

"We hear you loud and clear, we know you want someone to go to Westminster to fight your case, to stand up to Boris Johnson, to protect us from Brexit.

"You also want us to get back to work in Stormont, no more excuses will be accepted by the people of our city or by the people of Northern Ireland.”

North Down: Alliance gain

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Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party with party leader Naomi Long after he won the North Down constituency in the UK General Election at the Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex, Bangor, Northern Ireland. Michael Cooper/PA Wire

The pro-Remain Alliance Party took North Down in a major upset for the DUP.

Stephen Farry cruised to victory by around 3,000 votes, hailing it as a resounding vote against Brexit and pledged to work in Westminster to frustrate the EU exit.

Mr Farry said: "We believe that there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit.

"Indeed, all forms of Brexit are damaging to the UK and to us in Northern Ireland and in particular the Boris Johnson deal."

Alliance leader Naomi Long celebrated with her victorious candidate with a hug and a wave for the cameras.

The last MP for North Down, independent unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon, was the sole Northern Ireland Remain voice in the previous Parliament.

Mr Farry's defeated opponent, Alex Easton of the DUP, said his vote had gone up on previous showings and added he would be back.

Belfast East: DUP hold

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Gavin Robinson with his wife Lindsey and party leader Arlene Foster pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The DUP’s Gavin Robinson secured a new mandate in east Belfast, albeit with a reduced majority of 1,819 ahead of Alliance leader Naomi Long. Mr Robinson is now the sole DUP MP in Belfast.

Mr Robinson, who received 20,874 votes, said feedback from voters on the canvas made it clear that the public wanted Stormont back up and running.

"As a party on the doors across the constituency and across the province our message of getting Northern Ireland moving again has resonated," he said.

"That is our challenge, be it at Westminster, at Stormont, across this province - we have a job of work to do.

"Let's get on, let's get Northern Ireland moving forward again - let's do it."

Belfast West: Sinn Fein hold

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Michelle O'Neill and Paul Maskey pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Returning MP Paul Maskey's 20,866 votes in the republican stronghold was more than his five rival candidates polled combined.

However, his vote was down from the 27,107 he received in 2017, with his 21,652 majority reduced to a still sizeable 14,672.

Mr Maskey thanked his family and supporters as he paid tribute to the people of west Belfast and the economic and social advances he said had been achieved in recent years.

"What it looks like in Britain is that the Tories are going into a massive majority," he said.

"This election and this election in Belfast sends a massive clear message to the Tories that we are not going away and our voice is going to be heard loud and clear, as it has been in England, in London, in Europe, in America and indeed on this island."

East Antrim: DUP hold

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Election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast for Belfast East, Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast North, East Antrim & South Down. Sammy Wilson pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

A very hoarse Sammy Wilson told those gathered in Belfast that he would fight for the UK to leave the EU as one, with Northern Ireland, while saying direct rule should remain an option if an Assembly cannot be restored.

But while the DUP man was once again victorious in East Antrim – a constituency he’s been synonymous with since 2005 – his majority was squeezed this time around.

He took the seat with a strong majority of more than 6,000, and said he and the DUP would be fighting for a re-negotiated deal on Brexit.

“I pledge in the forthcoming session of Parliament, we will do our best to restore the Assembly so that decisions can be made,” he said.

East Londonderry: DUP hold

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The DUP’s Gregory Campbell is returned s MP for East Londonderry. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

With a lion's share of the vote at 15,765, the DUP’s Gregory Campbell was returned comfortably.

"When those who try to analyse and say votes are down, I hope they will look at the vote we got in East Londonderry and see that our majority is up," he said.

"That's because the people here want a hardworking, effective hard hitting MP who doesn't pull any punches and that's what they will get in the next few years.

"We will wait to see the outcome, and hopefully all parties commit to get back to Stormont to make this country the best country in the United Kingdom and make it a much more prosperous country we've had in the past."

Newcomer SDLP candidate Cara Hunter pipped Sinn Fein to the post for second place by just 30 votes.

Fermanagh & South Tyrone: Sinn Fein hold

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Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew pictured with Michelle ONeill at the count centre in Omagh after winning the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has been returned to Westminster with 21,986 votes after her unionist challenger Tom Elliott,  who polled 21,929 votes, failed to unseat her in the marginal seat. Mrs Gildernew's 57 vote majority was announced after a recount.

She said: "We have many issues relating to this constituency, not least with the news coming from London.

"This election was called because of Brexit, 59% of people in this constituency voted to remain, and unfortunately it looks like things are going to happen outside of our control that we can't stop.

"The people of Ireland are ready to take on a new challenge."

Mr Elliott thanked all who voted for him, including people from the nationalist background.

He added: "I was hoping to build a better future for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. I would still hope to be a part of building a better future in Fermanagh and South Tyrone as I think there is a lot of work to be done."

Lagan Valley: DUP hold

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Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has held his seat in Lagan Valley pictured at the count centre in Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson was comfortably returned as a MP for the Lagan Valley constituency with 19,586 votes in a seat he had held since 1997.

Donaldson commiserated with DUP colleagues who lost their seats but said that, while the party had "suffered some reversals", it remained the strongest in Northern Ireland.

The Alliance Party saw a surge, with its candidate, Sorcha Eastwood, polling 13,000 votes - up from 5,000 in 2017 - but it was not enough to unseat Mr Donaldson.

Ms Eastwood said the party ran a progressive campaign that was strongly endorsed by the people of Lagan Valley and it wants to build on the surge in the future.

Mid Ulster: Sinn Fein hold

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Sinn Féin Francie Molloy is returned as MP for Mid Ulster. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy has comfortably retained his seat in Mid Ulster with 45.9% of the vote.

With 20,473 votes polled, Mr Molloy's share is down slightly since the 2017 election when he won 54.5% of the vote.

He said: "This was a Brexit election. Brexit has wrecked the entire political process and it is going to wreck the Union as well. The one certainty for us to return to the European Union is Irish unity. That's the open door we have to Europe and I would hope to continue that as soon as possible."

As in the 2017 election, Molloy's nearest rival was the DUP's Keith Buchanan, whose vote decreased to 10,936.

Mel Boyle of the Alliance Party increased the party's share from 2.3% to 7.9%, while the SDLP's Denise Johnston increased her party share by 4.5%.

Newry & Armagh: Sinn Fein hold

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Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady(centre) is returned as MP for Newry and Armagh. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

While Mickey Brady held the seat for Sinn Fein for the third time, his vote dropped by over 5,000 from 25,666 to 20,287.

Alliance saw a large increase with candidate Jackie Coade continuing the Alliance surge with her vote up to 4,211 from 1,256.

DUP candidate William Irwin's vote dropped from 13,177 in 2017 to 11,000, while the SDLP and UUP votes largely stayed the same.

North Antrim: DUP hold

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The DUP's Ian Paisley (left) is returned as MP for North Antrim. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

The DUP's Ian Paisley has safely regained his seat in North Antrim with over 47% of the vote, but saw his majority drop from 28,521 to 20,860.

He said: "Everything was done in the wider media to try and undermine me, but the electorate of North Antrim are incredibly faithful people. The important thing is that the constituency gets things delivered for them."

With a majority of over 12,000 votes, Mr Paisley's nearest rival Robin Swann of the UUP managed to poll 8,139 votes.

As former party leader, the Ulster Unionists had selected one of their most high-profile names to challenge Mr Paisley

Former party leader Robin Swann increased the UUP's vote from 3,482 in 2017 to 8,139.

Alliance secured another positive result with candidate Patricia O'Lynn more than doubling her 2017 vote from 2,723 to 6,231.

Sinn Fein increased their vote by over 2,000, while the SDLP vote also increased by a few hundred.

South Antrim: DUP hold

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Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th December 2019 General Election 2019 - Election count at Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt for Newry & Armagh, South Antrim, North Antrim, Upper Bann, East Londonderry, Foyle, Lagan Valley and Mid Ulster. The DUPÕs Paul Girvan(left) is returned as MP for South Antrim. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

The DUP's Paul Girvan was comfortably returned as MP for the South Antrim constituency with 15,149 votes.

The UUP's Danny Kinahan, a prominent Remainer, had been expected to make a comeback after returning to contest the seat he lost two years ago but he polled 12, 460 votes, which was not enough to close the gap between him and Mr Girvan.

The Alliance surge was also seen in South Antrim, with the party's John Blair receiving 8,190 votes.

South Down: Sinn Fein hold

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Chris Hassard, centre, pictured at the count centre. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Chris Hazzard’s victory speech at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast was short and succinct – perhaps due to his win being a significantly closer affair than he would have liked.

The Sinn Fein MP paid tribute to those who voted for him, saying it was reinforced by those who were standing up to the problems with Brexit.

“I think what are seeing with the politics in South Down, is people in the light of the Brexit catastrophe have stood up for the interests of the people in South Down,” he said.

It was very much seen as Mr Hazzard’s seat to those, this time around. And it was surprising then that his votes reduced and margin narrowed, just 1,600 votes ahead of his SDLP rival, Michael Savage – arguably less of a familiar face than the former MP Margaret Ritchie, who held the seat until 2017.

Strangford: DUP hold

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Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th December 2019 - General Election 2019 - Election count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor for Strangford and North Down. Jim Shannon, DUP with his mother Mona and wife Sandra after being elected in Strangford. Photo by Brian LittleÊ / Press Eye

The DUP's Jim Shannon was re-elected MP for the Co Down constituency of Strangford with 7,000 votes to spare.

He said it was a vote of opposition to the Prime Minister's proposed deal over concerns it would create a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

He said: "The union has been degraded and downgraded by Boris Johnson.

"He would take your alsatian dog for a walk, he would come back an hour later and give you a chihuahua and tell you it was all right."

His closest rival, the cross-community Alliance party's Kellie Armstrong, said Northern Ireland deserved a restored devolved government.

Upper Bann: DUP hold

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DUP's Carla Lockhart holds Upper Bann seat pictured at the count centre in Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Newcomer Carla Lockhart secured her former DUP colleague's seat in Upper Bann.

Ms Lockhart pipped opposition rival Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd to top the poll with 20,501 to Mr O'Dowd's 12,291, who also came second to the DUP in 2017.

Speaking after her victory, Ms Lockhart thanked God and her predecessor who she said she will lean on for guidance in the times ahead.

"I am extremely humbled that 20,501 people put their trust in me as their DUP MP for Upper Bann," she said.

She went on to thank her baby boy Charlie: "I believe this will make me a better person and it's for his future for all our children and grandchildren going forward.

"I will represent everyone to the best of my ability."

West Tyrone: Sinn Fein hold

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Sinn Fein's Orfhlaith Begley pictured after she won her seat back in West Tyrone Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

Orfhlaith Begley raced across the line to claim the West Tyrone seat, with 16,544 votes.

Speaking after her win, Ms Begley said: "This was a crucial election, the election of a generation and clearly people wanted their views heard in terms of Brexit.

"This is a border constituency that rejected Brexit in the referendum and people came out again in this election to once again reject Brexit.”

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