Alliance set sights on Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s seat in possible by-election

Having slashed the Westminster majority of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in 2019, Alliance rival Sorcha Eastwood believes the MP’s seat could now be vulnerable in a by-election.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 7:55 am
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Since Edwin Poots offered his resignation as DUP leader on Thursday night, speculation has been mounting that a by-election in Lagan Valley could be imminent if, as expected, Sir Jeffrey returns from Westminster to take over as DUP leader and first minister.

In the last general election, Sir Jeffrey’s majority was cut by 16.4% (to 6,499), with Alliance candidate Ms Eastwood increasing her party’s share of the vote by almost 18%.

At the weekend, she tweeted: “Lagan Valley is changing; it is diverse & needs representation to match its diversity and desire by the community to have a positive & progressive united community ... all we need to change politics for good in LV is 6499 extra votes #letsdoit.”

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Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has said it has “no demands” for facilitating the appointment of a new first minister, other than a commitment to agreements already made. The party’s MP for South Down Chris Hazzard has said there is “no Sinn Fein shopping list” for fresh concessions from the DUP.

DUP party officers have set a date of June 26 to elect a new leader, with the recently appointed First Minister Paul Givan having been told he will be expected to step down as part of the transition.