Lagan Valley: Donaldson triumphs in DUP stronghold

Jeffrey Donaldson celebrates his re-election as Lagan Valley MP with DUP colleagues Paul Givan and Andrew Ewing.
Jeffrey Donaldson celebrates his re-election as Lagan Valley MP with DUP colleagues Paul Givan and Andrew Ewing.

There was no shock result in the DUP stronghold of Lagan Valley where Jeffrey Donaldson was returned to Westminster for a fifth term.

A large contingent of the party’s elected representatives and supporters remained at the count centre into the early hours to celebrate with the sitting MP, who increased both his overall vote and majority.

Mr Donaldson polled 19,055 votes with Alexander Redpath of the Ulster Unionists 13,000 behind on 6,055.

Immediately the result was announced, the DUP’s spokesman on defence and equality issues, highlighted the rise of nationalism in Scotland as a “challenge” within UK politics.

“I want to make a plea to all unionists of a like mind, that we work together for the cause of the Union.

“The cause of the Union is greater than any single political party, and what we want to ensure is that the United Kingdom is strong and united and that is what my party, and the other unionist parties, are committed to.

“A fairer society for everyone, a strong United Kingdom, a better Northern Ireland and a better future for our people,” he said.

Mr Donaldson added: “I pledge to work with all of my colleagues to make this the best place in Northern Ireland in which to live and work, here in Lagan Valley.”

Reflecting on his own performance, Alex Redpath said he wasn’t too disappointed at a dip in the UUP vote in Lagan Valley as the longer term strategy was to work towards the 2016 assembly elections.

“Our objective going into the Westminster election was to consolidate our vote going into the assembly elections next year.”

Mr Redpath said the party as a whole was in a buoyant mood following the surprise victories of Tom Elliott and Danny Kinahan.

He said it was “particularly sweet” that Elliott’s win came at the expense of abstentionist Sinn Fein and added: “This was an excellent foundation from which we can retake our assembly seats at the next election.”

Trevor Lunn of Alliance Party was also happy on the night. The current MLA gained 1,370 votes and said the size of the increase was a bit of a shock.

“We didn’t really know what was going to happen,” he said.

“There has been a lot of stuff thrown at the Alliance Party over the last couple of years. The message on the doorstep was hard to read, quite frankly.

Mr Lunn added: “I’m very pleased with that, we are now very close to the UUP in Lagan Valley – we were only 500 votes behind and it augurs well for the Assembly election.”

Samuel Morrison of the TUV was disappointed at polling 1,887, compared to a TUV vote of 3,154 in 2010, but said the assembly elections were now the main focus.

“While the results were not as favourable for TUV as we would have wished we always knew that winning Westminster seats was a big ask for us,” he added.

Alan Love of Ukip will be pleased with his 2,200 votes in the party’s first Westminster election in Lagan Valley.

RESULT

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP): 19,055

47.9%, down by 1.9% on 2010

Alexander Redpath (UUP): 6,055

15.2%, down 5.9%

Trevor Lunn (Alliance): 5,544

13.9%, up 2.5%

Pat Catney (SDLP): 2,500

6.3%, up 1.3%

Alan Love (Ukip): 2,200

5.5%, up 5.5%

Samuel Morrison (TUV): 1,887

4.7%, down 3.9%

Jacqui McGeough (SF): 1,144

2.9%, down 1.1%

Jonny Orr (Ind): 756

1.9%, up 1.9%

Helen Osborne (Con): 654

1.6%, up 1.6%

Electorate: 71,152

Turnout: 56.2%