Westminster Election 2015: Newry & Armagh

The Results:


Mickey Brady of Sinn Féin won but it seemed as much to do with Incumbency than anything else. In the early part of the campaign, SDLP felt they were making a lot of progress but ultimately the Unionist Pact, where DUP stood aside for Danny Kennedy (UUP) was the deciding factor. The fear that a single unionist could come thru to win may not have saved Brady but it was certainly a factor.

Justin McNulty and SDLP will be reasonably confident of taking a second seat in 2016.


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Westminster Election 2015: North Down

The Results:


Easy for Sylvia Hermon. Her voters come from all “Assembly” Parties. Its almost as if North Down has decided to be apolitical…at least at Westminster level. If Sylvia Hermon endorsed a candidate in 2016, the candidate would certainly get a quota but I think she values her Independent status too much.

Only DUP can be reasonably satisfield with their performance. It is certainly a quota. But well short of the three seats they hold in the Assembly.The UUP did not stand and probably there is a quota hidden within the Hermon’s vote.

But Alliance and Greens, both of whom have Assembly seats are well short of a quota. A wake up call that their supporters basically prefer the apolitical stance of Sylvia Hermon.

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Westminster Election 2015: Upper Bann

The Results:


A win for David Simpson. This is a seat that UUP want “back”. Simpson and DUP took the seat in a bitter contrst with David Trimble in 2005.

Sinn Féin built their entire campaign around Demographics and claiming that Cat Seeley could come thru the middle between Simpson and Jo Anne Dobson (UUP). But even on polling day, Sinn Féin had given up and looked deflated. They had not made enough inroads into SDLP vote, had had a bad time on the doorsteps over “welfare” and it was known that wavering unionists were rallying round Simpson.

No real change for 2016. Two DUP. Two UUP and at least one Sinn Féin. Is Dolores Kelly in danger of losing the second nationalist seat? Well it would be foolish to be complacent but there is an Apathy factor, some expected slippage to Sinn Féin and the availability of transfers from minor parties.


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Westminster Election 2015: East Antrim

The Results:


Sammy Wilson won easily enough but the DUP vote slipped. UUP andAlliance clearly have one quota each and DUP at least two. In the contrxt of an Assembly contest, there is probably a nationalist seat (currently held by Sinn Féin).

The sixth seat is probably still DUP but without Sammy Wilson (ruled out by “double jobbing” legislation, TUV or UKIP will have a shout.



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Westminster Election 2015: South Down

The Results:


A straightforward win for Margaret Ritchie. Her Sinn Féin opponent, Chris Hazzard was hyped as a serious challenger but ultimately he was a well-beaten docket.

Less than one thousand votes seperated three unionist candidates and Harold McKee UUP (a new name to me) overtook Jim Wells DUP. The loudest voice in Norn Iron’s UKIP franchise had a very respectable vote.

The story of this constituency was the drama surrounding Jim Wells.

At one level, it is possible to have sympathy for a man who has a seriously ill wife. On another level, there can be no sympathy for remarks made that were widely perceived as homophobic. Wells attempted to excuse this on the grounds of personal stress.

Wells was the big loser. He went into the Election as Minister for Health. And had to resign as a consequence of his remarks.

And 2016? Well…my default position is that the sixth seat in most cobstituencies is the problematic seat and the ghost at the table is the non-appearance on the ballot paper of John McCallister MLA, now Independent but a founder of NI21. Possibly some of his liberal unionist vote went to Martyn Todd of Alliance.

South Down is a constituency…currently two SDLP, two Sinn Féin, one DUP and one Independent (McCallister). It looks like two SDLP quotas, two Sinn Féin quotas, one unionist……and…..the sixth seat will go to either another unionist (more likely) or SDLP (less likely).

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Westminster Election 2015: Lagan Valley

The Results:



It is hard to believe that it is seventeen years since that encounter between Jeffrey Donaldson and a constituent at a polling station. Jeffrey was described as a “very devious young man”.

So…Jeffrey romped home in Lagan Valley. The elephant-not-in-the-room was Basil McCrea. This is the last place to have a NI21 presence…but not on the ballot box. There is nothing optimistic for Basil in these results. He would need to be politically between Alliance and UUP and there doesnt look to be many votes in that position.

Alex Redpath is one of those Young Unionists, who only seemed to exist on Social Media. The problem with Young Unionists is that they become Old Unionists very quickly.

So at least three seats for DUP and one each for UUP and Alliance in 2016. But interesting if Alliance persist with the veteran Trevor Lunn or go for a younger person.

The sixth seat? SDLP did reasonably well with a small improvement and clearly the leading nationalist party but still some way short of a quota.

The destination of the sixth seat will be decided by transfers within unionism.

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Westminster Election 2015: North Antrim

The Result:


It is Paisley Country. But it feels strange referring to the son of Rev Ian Paisley without adding “Junior”. Ian Paisley has a job for life. But I have to say that North Antrim was the constituency that seemed most apathetic to the Westminster Election.

The only posters I saw in Ballymena and Ballymoney last week were DUP and TUV so no surprise that Timothy Gaston was runner up to Paisley. North Antrim, of course is also “Jim Allister” country. A safe quot, without Allister on the ballot paper…TUV might be tempted to run two candidates next year. But of course that carries the risk of Allister losing out.

UUP…this was a poor performance and Robin Swann will be just a little concerned.

Daithí McKay and Sinn Féin will be happy enough.

This is a poor result for SDLP. Of course there are straws to clutch. Westminster Apathy. But my own view is that Declan O’Loan was maybe the wrong candidate…for 2015. And might be even more wrong for 2016. Ballycastle-based Donal Cunningham deserves a bigger platform.

A fairly decent performance for Alliance. Transfers might see Swann elected next year.

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