General election 2015: South Down count

Margaret Ritchie is expected to hold off the challenge of Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard
Margaret Ritchie is expected to hold off the challenge of Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard

The South Down count taking place at a Lisburn leisure centre was delayed while the Lagan Valley ballots were counted to a conclusion.

Verification of the votes from South Down was expected to begin about 1.30am.

One of the big talking points will be the arrival of DUP candidate Jim Wells, the count taking place soon after after he resigned as Health Minister over remarks at a hustings event in Downpatrick – followed by a doorstep altercation at the home of a lesbian couple in Rathfriland.

The SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie is expected to comfortably retain her seat.

Her main challenge will undoubtedly come from Chris Hazzard of Sinn Fein. Last time around, Ms Ritchie finished 8,412 votes ahead of Sinn Fein’s Caitriona Ruane with Jim Wells polling 3,645 (8.6 per cent share of the vote).

A similar result is expect this time around despite the well-publicised difficulties faced by the DUP candidate.

Henry Reilly of Ukip, and a high-profile councillor in Mourne, is also standing and his party will be interested to see if he can take votes from both the DUP and Ulster Unionist candidate Harold McKee.