Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Lagan Valley: DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson issues warning over Johnson's Brexit deal

  • Eligible Electorate: 75,735
  • Votes polled: 45,589
  • Valid votes: 45,405
  • Turnout: 60.20%
  • Majority: 6,499
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
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

By Mark McConville

Boris Johnson must listen to the voices of people from Northern Ireland about his Brexit deal, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said after he was re-elected as MP for Lagan Valley.

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The DUP stalwart was returned for his seventh consecutive term with a majority of 6,499 over nearest challenger, Sorcha Eastwood of Alliance.

Mr Donaldson said that the DUP recognise that the Prime Minister is likely to have a working majority in parliament and will want to proceed with his deal.

He warned Mr Johnson about the potential damage to the economy and political landscape of Northern Ireland, should he push ahead with his Brexit deal.

“He does have to listen to the voices of people from Northern Ireland and the political parties who have raised concerns about that deal and its potential impact on the economy of NI and our trading relationship with Great Britain which is by far our biggest market,” he said.

“I think the Prime Minister needs to understand fully that if the economy is damaged and undermined that impacts on the political process and creates political instability at a time when we need to be doing the opposite.

“I hope he will listen to what people are saying and that he will address those concerns in the context of taking forward this deal.”

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Despite the DUP losing seats in North and South Belfast, Mr Donaldson said they remain the largest Northern Ireland party in the House of Common.

He also said that his party wanted to “get around the table on Monday with the other political parties and get an agreement to restore Stormont”.

“We remain the largest party in terms of vote share and seats in the House of Commons and we'll continue to represent our constituents,” he said.

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.

“There are big challenges ahead in Parliament, not least on Brexit and this Brexit deal. We want to safeguard Northern Ireland's position and avoid a situation where our economy is damaged by this deal.

“We want to get Stormont back to work because on the doorsteps that was the major issue by far that people were raising with me.”

The turnout in Lagan Valley was 60.2% and Mr Donaldson received 19,586 votes while Alliance saw their votes surge to 13,087.

The UUP’s Robbie Butler, who is also an MLA for the area, came in third with 8,606 votes.

The DUP were in jubilant mood inside the Magherafelt count centre as Carla Lockhart was elected as an MP in Upper Bann immediately after the announcement of Jeffrey Donaldson’s victory.

Loud cheers rang around the large sports hall as clapping DUP members roared on their victorious colleagues.

Mr Donaldson had some consoling words for the other candidates in Lagan Valley as he spoke of his delight at his re-election.

“I am delighted to be re-elected for the seventh consecutive term in parliament to represent the people of Lagan Valley,” he said.

“I want to thank them for placing their confidence in me once again and congratulate the other candidates who fought a very strong campaign and have also done well in this election.”

Mr Donaldson has been in the seat since 1997 when he replaced then-UUP leader Sir James Molyneaux. At that time Mr Donaldson was a member of the Ulster Unionist Party before switching to the DUP in 2004.

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