UUP romp home in Craigavon by-election

THE UUP has topped the poll in the Craigavon by-election.

The election, in which the DUP did not run, had a very low turnout of just under 24 per cent.

Ulster Unionist candidate Jo-Anne Dobson polled a total of 2,494 votes - over 60 per cent.

The quota for election was 1,952.

TUV candidate David Calvert polled 752 votes.

Sinn Fein's Liam Mackle received 401 votes while Pat McDade of the SDLP polled 256 votes.

Speaking after her election, Mrs Dobson described it as an "enormous privilege and honour" to top the poll.

"I pledged to listen to local people to make politics work, to support the ongoing regeneration of Lurgan town, and to deliver real help where it matters in Craigavon. As I begin my work in council, I will do just that.

"I will serve everyone in Craigavon Borough from whatever political shade with honesty and integrity," she added.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey congratulated Mrs Dobson on "delivering one of the best election results the UUP has ever had".

"Jo-Anne is part of a new generation of Ulster Unionists, and her commitment, vigour and drive is truly outstanding. I have no doubt that she will be a major asset to an already strong team of Ulster Unionist councillors, making politics work for all members of the community," he said.

"It confirms a trend that began at Dromore in February 2008 and continued at the Euro Election last June. Jo-Anne's victory represents the clearest possible evidence that the Ulster Unionist Party is back in business."

Earlier, TUV leader Jim Allister said that he was not surprised at the UUP win as the ward was a stauch UUP area.

"I congratulate them on their win," he said.

"I am pleased that we have retained our share of the unionist vote which we established in the European election."

The Lurgan ward returned six unionists - three DUP and three UUP - along with one Sinn Fein member in the 2005 council election.

The by-election was sparked after a co-option deal came unstuck and the parties at Craigavon Council refused to accept the TUV's David Calvert as a replacement for outgoing Mark Russell.