Tension was last night growing amongst Mid Ulster candidates as they waited for the North Antrim Westminster count to come to a close in the Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena.
DUP candidate for Mid Ulster Ian McCrea said he was only planning to travel to the count centre around midnight.
The DUP MLA said he “could not predict the turnout of voters” given he had been told “of lower turnouts in some areas and a rise in others”. “We will not know until all the votes are counted and it is fingers crossed at this stage,” he added.
Meanwhile, fellow Westminster Sinn Fein candidate Francie Molloy, who political commentators have predicted has a safe seat, spoke to the News Letter as he arrived at the count centre at 11.30pm. He said he was “hopeful there had been a high turnout as there has been in other elections in the area”. The seat changed hands in Sinn Fein in 2013 when Mr McGuinness resigned as MP to concentrate on being Stormont’s Deputy First Minister and party colleague Francie Molloy took 46.9 per cent of the vote at a by-election.