2016 election: South Antrim a key UUP target seat

Antrim Castle grounds
Antrim Castle grounds

Having won an MP here last year, this has to be one of the Ulster Unionists’ top target seats.

At present, they have just one MLA in the constituency – Adrian Cochrane-Watson, who replaced Danny Kinahan after he became an MP in 2015 – in what was once traditionally solid Ulster Unionist territory.

Mr Cochrane-Watson has two running mates – Antrim councillor Paul Michael, who is seen as being close to the more liberal Mr Kinahan, and Steve Aiken, a former Royal Navy nuclear submarine commander.

If the DUP lose a seat here – as some in the party expect – it is likely to be Pam Cameron, although she has carved out something of a niché on what could loosely be described as the liberal wing of the DUP.

Paul Girvan, with a big personal vote in Ballyclare, ought to be secure, as should Trevor Clarke.

Having secured Sinn Fein’s breakthrough in the constituency, Mitchel McLaughlin is standing down in favour of Declan Kearney.

The SDLP’s Roisin Lynch cannot be entirely ruled out for the final seat.

Alliance leader David Ford should be comfortably returned and his transfers could be important in the final reckoning.

More stories from the election will be put on here later on Thursday and on Friday

2016 CANDIDATES:

• Steven Aiken (UUP)

• Richard Cairns (TUV)

• Pam Cameron (DUP)

• Trevor Clarke (DUP)

• Adrian Cochrane-Watson (UUP)

• Helen Farley (Green)

• David Ford (Alliance)

• Paul Girvan (DUP)

• Robert Hill (UKIP)

• Declan Kearney (SF)

• Roisin Lynch (SDLP)

• David McMaster (Ind.)

• Paul Michael (UUP)

• Mark Young (Cons.)

RESULTS OF 2011 ELECTION:

Paul Girvan (DUP) 4,844 (15.1%)

Mitchel McLaughlin (SF) 4,662 (14.5%)

Trevor Clarke (DUP) 4,607 (14.3%)

David Ford (Alliance) 4,554 (14.2%)

Danny Kinahan (UUP) 3,445 (10.7%)

Thomas Burns (SDLP) 3,406 (10.6%)

Pam Lewis (DUP) 2,866 (8.9%)

Adrian Watson (UUP) 2,285 (7.1%)

Mel Lucas (TUV) 1,091 (3.4%)

Stephen Parkes (BNP) 404 (1.3%)