Gains for Ulster Unionists as DUP retains grip

The DUP has retained its position as the largest party in the North but the UUP is arguably celebrating harder after landing two surprise wins in the general election.

The Ulster Unionists are proclaiming a renaissance after Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott won in South Antrim and Fermanagh, and South Tyrone respectively to herald the party’s return to parliament after a period without any representation.

Mr Elliott won Fermanagh and South Tyrone from Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew — a rare loss of a Westminster seat for the republican party.

While Mr Kinahan ousted DUP veteran Willie McCrea in South Antrim, the DUP found consolation with a triumph in East Belfast, where Gavin Robinson recaptured the seat his party lost to the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long in 2010. Mr Elliott and Mr Robinson’s victories were delivered with the aid of a joint DUP/UUP electoral pact, as was DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds’ win in North Belfast.

With one loss and one gain, the DUP emerged from the election as it went in, with eight of the North’s 18 seats. Sinn Féin was down one to four; the SDLP retained its three seats; the UUP captured two and independent Sylvia Hermon retained her North Down seat.

Ms Long’s defeat left the Alliance Party without representation at Westminster.

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