General Election 2017: SDLP lose all three Westminster seats


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Media captionAn historic win for Sinn Féin in Foyle

The SDLP have lost all three of their Westminster seats as counting of general election votes in Northern Ireland continues.

Former party leaders Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell were toppled in Foyle, South Down and Belfast South.

In Foyle, a recount was needed before Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion was declared the winner by 169 votes.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Elected DUP MPs Nigel Dodds, Emma Little-Pengelly and Gavin Robinson with party leader Arlene Foster (middle left)

So far, 15 seats out 18 have been declared in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has won 10 seats, Sinn Féin has four and independent candidate Lady Sylvia Hermon retained her seat in North Down.

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Media captionSDLP’s Mark Durkan apologises to John Hume for losing seat

In South Down, Ms Ritchie lost to Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard while the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly won the seat in Belfast South from Dr McDonnell.

Meanwhile, the UUP’s Danny Kinahan lost his seat in South Antrim to the DUP’s Paul Girvan.

Lady Sylvia Hermon retained her seat in North Down but had her majority of over 9,000 votes cut to around 1,200 by DUP candidate Alex Easton.

Image caption Turnout figures have been confirmed across Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies

The DUP’s Jim Shannon, Jeffrey Donaldson, Gregory Campbell, Gavin Robinson, Ian Paisley, Nigel Dodds and David Simpson retained their seats in Strangford, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Belfast East, Belfast North and Upper Bann.

Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey also retained his seat in Belfast West.

Image caption It’s been a disappointing night for SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

Analysis: Enda McClafferty, BBC News NI political correspondent

It doesn’t get any better than this for Sinn Féin.

The spiritual home of the SDLP now belongs to them.

But, the writing has been on the wall for the SDLP in Foyle. For the first time they were outpolled by Sinn Féin in the last assembly election.

The passing of Martin McGuinness was a factor in galvanising the republican vote but the problems in the SDLP run deep and Colum Eastwood is facing a huge rebuilding task.

He may look south of the border for help in the shape of Fianna Fáil.


Image caption Former first minister Peter Robinson and DUP candidate Emma-Little Pengelly at the count centre in Belfast

A total of 109 candidates stood across Northern Ireland and 1.2m people were eligible to vote.

The general election exit poll indicated that the Conservatives will be the largest party at Westminster but may not secure an overall majority.

If this proves correct, Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs may become crucial in the formation of a government.

Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Alliance Party are standing candidates in all 18 constituencies.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at the count centre in Belfast

The DUP is standing in 17 constituencies while the UUP is standing in 14.

The Green Party and Conservatives are standing seven candidates while People Before Profit and the Workers Party have two candidates each.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Party representatives keep a keen eye on the ballots in Ballymena

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance (CISTA) each put forward one candidate.

There are also five independent candidates.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-40188101

BBC News NI is providing full coverage of the results online, on television and radio.

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