South Armagh man wins Merseyside seat for Labour

Conor McGinn, son of former SF councillor, elected in St Helen’s North constituency

South Armagh man Conor McGinn, the son of a former Sinn Féin councillor, has won a Merseyside seat for the Labour Party in the House of Commons, increasing the party’s majority in St Helen’s North by four votes. Photograph: Conor McGinn Twitter page.

South Armagh man Conor McGinn, the son of a former Sinn Féin councillor, has won a Merseyside seat for the Labour Party in the House of Commons, increasing the party’s majority in St Helen’s North by four votes. Photograph: Conor McGinn Twitter page.

 

South Armagh man Conor McGinn, the son of a former Sinn Féin councillor, has won a Merseyside seat for the Labour Party in the House of Commons, increasing the party’s majority in St Helen’s North by 4,000 votes.

Delighted by his win, Mr McGinn made no attempt to hide his disappointment at Labour’s UK-wide result which has delivered a surprise majority for David Cameron and the Conservatives - the first Conservative majority since John Major won in 1992.

Mr McGinn won a tough battle to secure the nomination to run in St Helen’s North following the decision of Dave Watts to retire, defeating a former St Helen’s mayor and other leading local party figures at the selection convention.

The Camlough-born politician has been involved in Labour since shortly after he moved to London for college when he was 18. Thereafter, he started to work for an Irish charity in London before becoming a party special adviser.

He worked for Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland spokesman, Vernon Coaker, and then moved with Mr Coaker to the shadow defence portfolio after a reshuffle - the first time a Northern Irish man held such a role.

Educated in St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, in south Co Armagh, Mr McGinn and his fellow pupils used to get a few more minutes than students elsewhere for their oral examinations, because of the noise that came from the nearby British army helicopter base, once the busiest in Europe.

When he was 13, Mr McGinn, his brother and their mother came on the scene shortly after Stephen Restorick, the last British soldier to die in the Troubles, was killed by an IRA sniper’s bullet, at a vehicle checkpoint, in February 1997.