Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Upper Bann: DUP's Carla Lockhart eases to victory against John O’Dowd

  • Eligible electorate: 82,887
  • Votes polled: 50,348
  • Valid votes: 50,045
  • Turnout: 60.74%
  • Majority: 8,210
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Carla Lockhart’s stock continues to rise in the DUP as she was elected as MP for Upper Bann with a majority of over 8,000 votes.

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Popular as ever in the constituency, Ms Lockhart delivered on the heavy expectations to blow the opposition away and she did so in style.

Cheered on by her supporters after the official announcement, the former councillor and MLA for the area celebrated with her family and her seven-month-old son Charlie in the early hours of Friday morning.

Taking over from David Simpson, who stepped down from his role as MP ahead of the election, Ms Lockhart held a 8,210 majority over her closest challenger - Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd.

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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.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after her election, Ms Lockhart stated that she was “delighted” that the people of Upper Bann put their trust in her.

“I will work for everyone in Upper Bann and I would just like to thank the public so much for coming out in their droves and electing me as their Member of Parliament,” said an elated Ms Lockhart.

“I will take guidance from those who have been there a lot longer and Jeffrey Donaldson [DUP MP for Lagan Valley], who is beside me here, will certainly be giving me a lot of guidance with regards to what’s required as a Member of Parliament but it’s hard work and delivery and I will continue to do that.”

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She added that her successful election came down to her previous work in the constituency and said she ran a positive campaign, while others “sought to dig” and attack her party “from the sidelines”.

“I am extremely humbled that 20,501 people put their trust in me as their DUP MP for Upper Bann,” Ms Lockhart stated.

“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor David Simpson, who worked tirelessly over the last 14 years and whose experience and guidance I will lean on in the days ahead.

SDLP Candidate Dolores Kelly and DUP Candidate for Upper Bann at Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
SDLP Candidate Dolores Kelly and DUP Candidate for Upper Bann at Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

“I campaigned on the record of delivery in Upper Bann. Millions of pounds of funding has been delivered for Upper Bann and a difference was made to many, many lives.

“I stand on my record of delivery and the people of Upper Bann embraced that.”

Looking ahead at what she would like to deliver for her constituents, Ms Lockhart said she has a “plan” to try and sort the healthcare crisis in Northern Ireland, while also attempting to get Stormont back up and running.

Commenting on the special moment she had with her son following her election, Ms Lockhart added: “He’s number one and he’s turned my life upside down but all for the better. It’s for him I do this.”

Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd, who returned 12,291 votes, congratulated his DUP rival and said her election as MP comes with a major responsibility.

“There is a huge responsibility in the days and weeks ahead and I think we’re all up to that task,” he added.

Meanwhile, the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said she looks forward to working with Ms Lockhart as they have “worked together in the past in the best interests of the people of Upper Bann”.

“I look forward to getting back to work and I think a very clear message on the doorsteps was to get back to work and to start to solve the problems facing our people in terms of health and education,” she continued.

“I for one am not afraid of hard work and I look forward to getting back into that particular fray.”

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