North Down: Sylvia Hermon retains seat and turns on May

Independent Unionist battles huge swing to DUP in ‘appalling’ election

 

Independent Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon retained her seat in North Down and warned Theresa May that her days are numbered.

The one-time shoo-in for the constituency, who won the seat by only 1,208 votes from the DUP’s Alex Easton, said she was angry and disappointed after her election campaign turned into a re-run of the Brexit debate amid fears over a Border poll.

“I feel extremely angry and disappointed indeed that Theresa May called this election and look how we have ended up in Northern Ireland or could well possibly end up,” she said.

“I think it’s appalling. I think she’s gone.”

Lady Hermon was visibly emotional over the huge swing to the Democratic Unionists in her own constituency that shattered her massive 9,000-plus majority from the 2015 election.

Lady Hermon used her victory speech to urge Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill to reach a compromise on getting the Stormont Assembly back up and running.

She claimed Mrs May was ill-advised by insiders in No 10 into calling an “unnecessary election”.

She added: “There was also the other factor . . . this anxiety about a Border poll, that every vote that is not a vote for the DUP will count against the unionist community.

“That is absolute nonsense and rubbish, but I heard that repeatedly on the doorsteps.”

Recent Westminster elections

2010 – Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent) defeated UCU’s Ian Parsley (21,181 votes to 6,817).

2015 – Lady Hermon beat DUP’s Alex Easton (17,689 to 8,487).