General election 2017: DUP and Sinn Féin celebrate election gains

Northern Ireland general election 2017 graphic

The SDLP and the UUP have lost all their Westminster MPs after a night of big gains for the DUP and Sinn Féin in the general election.

All 18 Northern Ireland seats were declared by 04:10 BST.

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

The DUP also increased its vote share by just over 10% while Sinn Féin’s share of the vote went up by almost 5%.

The Conservatives are on course to be the largest party but will not have an overall majority, which may make Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs crucial in the balance of power.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie lost her seat in South Down

Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell – three former SDLP leaders – lost their seats in Foyle, South Down and Belfast South.

Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott of the UUP also lost out in South Antrim and Fermanagh and South Tyrone to the DUP’s Paul Girvan and Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said it was a “very difficult night” for the party and paid tribute to the party’s three former MPs.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption UUP’s Danny Kinahan congratulates the DUP’s Paul Girvan

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she was “absolutely delighted” with the result, and that it showed the voters had bought into the party’s vision.

Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin’s northern leader, said the party would continue its policy of abstentionism and would not take its seats at Westminster.

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

The most dramatic scenes came in Foyle where the SDLP lost the seat it has held since the constituency was formed in 1983.

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion was declared the winner by 169 votes after a recount.

Mr Durkan said the loss “hurt” and apologised to former SDLP leader John Hume, who was the constituency’s MP from 1983 to 2005.

Elsewhere, Ms Ritchie lost her seat in South Down to Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard while the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly defeated Dr McDonnell.

The DUP’s Nigel Dodds, Gavin Robinson, Sammy Wilson, Gregory Campbell, Jeffrey Donaldson, Ian Paisley, Jim Shannon and David Simpson retained their seats.

Paul Maskey, Francie Molloy and Mickey Brady were returned for Sinn Féin who also had Barry McElduff elected in West Tyrone.

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

Counting took place overnight at seven different centres and the first results in Northern Ireland came in at about 01:00 BST on Friday.

— Besttopic

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