Election 2017: North Down unlikely to see big change

Bangor Marina in north Co Down. The North Down constituency looks likely to return two DUP MLAS and one from each of Green Party, UUP and Alliance
Bangor Marina in north Co Down. The North Down constituency looks likely to return two DUP MLAS and one from each of Green Party, UUP and Alliance

The DUP duo of Alex Easton and Gordon Dunne should not have to wait long before being re-elected in the DUP stronghold of North Down.

Last May they were voted in at the first and second count respectively, polling over 10,000 first preference votes between them.

Leader of the Green Party Stephen Agnew polled an impressive 4,109 first preference votes last May, though he had to wait until the eighth count to secure his seat at Stormont.

The Green Party gained two seats at Stormont last time out and North Down looks the most likely place it will retain.

It is also a key constituency for Alliance , with Stephen Farry gaining one of the party’s eight seats at Stormont in May.

This time out all their eggs will be in one basket with Farry contesting the seat without a running partner.

Former independent candidate Alan Chambers, who took the seat for the UUP in May, should also retain his.

For this election, he has been paired with an arguably stronger running mate – William Cudworth, formerly of TUV.

Despite gaining three seats in North Down at the last election, the DUP have trimmed their candidates down from three to two by moving Peter Weir to Strangford.

Weir was among a trio of politicians who got elected on the 11th count last time out, with little to separate him from Farry and Chambers last May.

It could well be a case with Weir not in the race, that the other five candidates who took their seats the last time out will do so again.

2017 candidates:

• Steven Agnew (Greens)

• Chris Carter (Ind)

• Alan Chambers (UUP)

• William Cudworth (UUP)

• Gordon Mervyn Dunne (DUP)

• Alex Easton (DUP)

• Stephen Anthony Farry (Alliance)

• Melanie Kennedy (Ind)

• Kieran Maxwell (Sinn Fein)

• Caoimhe McNeill) SDLP

• Gavan Aloysius Reynolds (Ind)

• Frank Shivers (Cons)

2016 results:

• Alex Easton (DUP) 6,357 (19.7%)

• Gordon Dunne (DUP) 4,004 (12.4%)

• Steven Agnew (Green) 4,109 (12.7%)

• Alan Chambers (UUP) 3,275 (10.2%)

• Peter Weir (DUP) 3,085 (9.6%)

• Stephen Farry (Alliance) 3,012 (9.3%)

• Andrew Muir (Alliance) 2,387 (7.4%)

• Carl McClean (UUP) 1,495 (4.6%)

• Brian Wilson (Independent) 1,415 (4.4%)

• Bill Piper (UKIP) 681 (2.1%)

• Frank Shivers (Conservatives) 672 (2.1%)

• John Brennan (TUV) 610 (1.9%)

• Conal Browne (SDLP) 426 (1.3%)

• Therese McCartney (Sinn Féin) 307 (1.0%)

• Chris Eisenstadt (UUP) 217 (0.7%)

• Maria Lourenco (NI Labour) 177 (0.5%)

• Electorate 65,760

• Votes cast 32,597 (50%)