Once dominant party in Belfast reduced to just two seats

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd May 2019''Counting gets underway at Belfast City Hall for the Belfast City Council elections after yesterday's voting across Northern Ireland. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd May 2019''Counting gets underway at Belfast City Hall for the Belfast City Council elections after yesterday's voting across Northern Ireland. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The party that dominated Belfast City Hall for decades has been reduced to just two councillors.

The Ulster Unionist Party suffered a disastrous local government election in Northern Ireland’s capital city with their seat count dropping from seven in 2014 to two.

Among the losses include Jeffrey Dudgeon, a veteran campaigner who helped to liberalise the region’s laws on homosexuality.

Peter Johnston, David Browne and Chris McGimpsey also lost their seats.

Mr McGimpsey had to wait until 11pm on Saturday night to find out his fate in the Lisnasharragh DEA.

He lost out on the sixth seat in the area to the SDLP’s Seamas de Faoite.

The Ulster Unionist Party is now represented by just two councillors in Belfast.

On Friday, the first day of the count, Sonia Copeland was elected to the Titanic DEA and Jim Rodgers was elected to Ormiston DEA, both of which are in the east of the city.

The Ulster Unionists returned seven councillors at the 2014 local government elections, but one of these, Graham Craig, defected to the DUP in 2016.

Mr Craig also lost his seat during the count on Friday.