Lagan Valley result: DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson secures strong win

DUP leader wants to ‘build on common ground’ with other unionist parties after election

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Jeffrey Donaldson comfortably secured the Lagan Valley seat and used his victory speech to urge unionist leaders to “sit down” and form a “united voice” at Stormont following a challenging election.

As the area’s MP for the past 25 years, he was considered a shoo-in and polled 12,626 votes, more than 4,000 higher than any other candidate.

Running mate and former first minister Paul Givan, who collapsed the Stormont executive in February following his resignation over the Northern Ireland protocol, gained just more than 5,000 first preferences and was re-elected through transfers.

Standing at the podium after midnight in the Jordanstown count centre, Mr Donaldson called on Boris Johnson, the British government and its secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, to address the protocol “decisively” so that “political stability is restored”.


“Words are not enough. Action is required,” he said.

In a day that saw a dramatic drop in the DUP first-preference vote, the DUP leader added: “A divided unionism does not win elections . . . Therefore I want to sit down with the other unionist party leaders and look at the common ground we have and build upon that common ground.

“We cannot continue with the divisions that are there. I want to see a more united, stronger unionist voice at Stormont working together for others to build a better future for everyone.”

Lagan Valley was another constituency where the Alliance breakthrough continued, with Sorcha Eastwood and David Honeyford both elected – the first time the party had secured two seats there.

Ms Eastwood said it was a “good day for Alliance but an even better one for Northern Ireland”.

Mr Honeyford won the fifth seat at the expense of the popular Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) incumbent, Pat Catney.

In what was a bruising night for the Ulster Unionists (UUP), deputy party leader Robbie Butler was safely elected after polling 8,242 votes – with just 31 votes separating him and Ms Eastwood.

Mr Butler singled out Mr Catney, the former owner of the famous Kitchen Bar in Belfast, for his “important” Assembly work, including a Bill tackling period poverty in the final days of the last mandate.

Five seats filled: Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP), Robbie Butler (UUP), Sorcha Eastwood (Alliance), Paul Givan (DUP), David Honeyford (Alliance)