North Down: Lady Sylvia Hermon claims comfortable victory
Independent and long-standing member of parliament retains her constituency seat
An election count in Northern Ireland. Independent Lady Sylvia Hermon has won the North Down constituency seat by a comfortable margin. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
Independent Lady Sylvia Hermon has won the North Down constituency seat by a comfortable margin. There were 10 candidates for North Down, with only three real contenders.
The incumbent will keep her Westminster seat after claiming 17,689 votes, or 49 per cent of the 35,944 total.
Coming in third was Andrew Muir of the Alliance Party, with 3,086 votes .
Mr Muir, Northern Ireland’s first openly gay mayor, was at the centre of the “gay cake” controversy, in which owners of a Belfast bakery refused to bake a cake bearing a pro-same-sex marriage slogan.
The cake was intended as a gift for Mr Muir. A court case between the bakery and the Equality Commission is set to be heard later this month.
Lady Hermon has been a member of parliament for 14-years. First elected in 2001 as part of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), she became an Independent in 2010. She retained her seat during the general election in May 2010.
Lady Hermon said: “It’s a tough job, and I think it will be a tougher job in the next parliament because every vote is going to count. It’s going to be a very different parliament.
“ There are going to be constitutional issues that are going to be raised to the fore . . . that makes parliament a really interesting place to be. I’m really looking forward to the next five years.
“I would be absolutely astonished if I were part of a coalition. I am there and elected as an independent voice. I intend to take each vote and vote on it independently . . . and vote for what I believe to be in the best interest of North Down, and, more generally, Northern Ireland. So I’m really looking forward to the next five years.”
North Down is regarded as affluent and pro-union constituency. Of the 64,207 registered voters, there was a 55.98 per cent voter turnout.