Election 2022: Mike Nesbitt admits he is in battle to stay in Stormont amid TUV vote surge

A former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has admitted that he is in a fight to remain as a Stormont MLA.

By Ben Lowry
Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:52 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 2:44 pm

Amid assessments that Mike Nesbitt’s pile of first preference votes suggested that he might lose his Strangford seat, Mr Nesbitt told the News Letter: “It is going to be very tight.”

He said: “We might be in a fight for the last seat.”

But Mr Nesbitt added: “You can never really tell what will happen until you see transfers.”

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Mike Nesbitt today at at the Stormont election count for Strangford at Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The TUV candidate in Strangford, Councillor Stephen Cooper, is said to have significantly out-polled Mike Nesbitt. One TUV source even thought that Mr Cooper had won more votes than Mr Nesbitt and his UUP running mate Philip Smith combined.

However, the TUV source said that Mr Nesbitt might still make it for the fifth seat.

Asked if he was feeling demoralised to be in such a battle to be re-elected to the assembly, Mr Nesbitt said: “I think you need to be pretty thick skinned about it.”

Mr Nesbitt was a broadcaster for 20 years, from the mid 1980s, and later became a Commissioner of Victims and Survivors.

He was elected to Stormont in 2011 and was UUP leader for five years from 2012.