Election 2016: Allister gratified as he comes home first in North Antrim

TUV leader Jim Allister takes a quiet moment during the North Antrim count in Ballymena
TUV leader Jim Allister takes a quiet moment during the North Antrim count in Ballymena

TUV leader Jim Allister was the first candidate to be elected in North Antrim after a long day of counting.

Mr Allister reached the quota at 7pm with 7,600 votes on the seventh count.

The DUP's Paul Frew topped the first preference votes and was the second MLA elected in the eighth count

The DUP's Paul Frew topped the first preference votes and was the second MLA elected in the eighth count

Speaking after his election, Mr Allister said: “It is very gratifying that five years ago I took the last seat below quota and five years on after serving the people of North Antrim and doing what I do they have done me the great honour of electing me first in 2016. That is very gratifying.”

The returning MLA added he was disappointed that fellow candidate Timothy Gaston did not succeed.

He said: “Timothy is a new candidate and he has done very well. He has a good future ahead.”

Mr Allister said there has been “much change in the last five years”.

“There was much gloating five years ago when I trailed in, as they put it, sub quota to win the last seat.

“They said I would be ignored and sit in a corner at Stormont. I think they have probably rued those words in the last five years and today I have been elected first to North Antrim.

“That makes the point better than I could make it.

“This is traditionally a Paisley constituency, an Ian Paisley DUP heartland, and some of them now are going to depend on election on my surplus.

“It is quite possible that someone like the finance minister will require Jim Allister’s surplus to get to Stormont. Mr Paul Frew will require my surplus to get to Stormont.”

Around 9.45pm the DUP’s Paul Frew was the second candidate to be elected.

He reached the quota in the eighth count on the transfer of Mr Allister’s surplus votes.

Sitting MLA David McIlveen of the DUP was eliminated in the same count.

Mr Frew said: “I am absolutely delighted to have topped the poll as it continues my run.

“I have fought four elections and I have topped the poll of first preference votes in every one of them.

“That is a bit of a record but of course it is not about that, it is about getting as many seats as possible.

“We pushed for four and we didn’t get them in the end, but we go back with a very strong three seats.”

He spoke of his pity that his colleague David McIlveen lost his seat.

“When you run one up things like this can happen and unfortunately this has happened to David.”

The eight candidates who have been eliminated are: Kathryn Johnston (NI Labour Representation Committee), James Simpson (Conservative Party), Jennifer Breslin (Green), Andrew Wright (UUP), Donna Anderson (UKIP), Stephen McFarland (Alliance), Timothy Gaston (TUV) and David McIlveen (DUP).

Fifteen candidates are standing for six seats in the constituency.

Votes polled in North Antrim were 41,464 (turnout 52.93%). The number of valid votes was 40,998 with a quota of 5,857.

Earlier DUP veteran Mervyn Storey said he was “very pleased with the DUP performance and clearly the party across Northern Ireland is having a good day – even though the obituaries were written before this election and I have read many in the last four weeks.”

He added: “It is quite clear the people of Northern Ireland have made it quite clear who speaks for the unionist community and who speaks for Northern Ireland.

“We are in a position that will reflect our strengths and willl reflect the confidence people have in the DUP.”

NORTH ANTRIM CONSTITUENCY (first preference votes)

• Jim Allister (TUV) Elected 5,399

• Donna Anderson (UKIP) 1,027

• Jennifer Breslin (Green) 513

• Connor Duncan (SDLP) 3,093

• Paul Frew (DUP) Elected 5,429

• Timothy Gaston (TUV) 1,955

• Kathryn Johnston (NI Labour Rep Committee) 243

• Philip Logan (DUP) 3,635

• Stephen McFarland (Alliance) 1,318

• David McIlveen (DUP) 3,209

• Daithí McKay (Sinn Fein) 5,297

• James Simpson (Con) 92

• Mervyn Storey (DUP) 5,382

• Robin Swan (UUP) 3,585

• Andrew Wright (UUP) 821

TURNOUT: 52.93%