UK general election: three close races and three bankers up North

Naomi Long, Michelle Gildernew, Alasdair McDonnell face tough contests while Paul Maskey, Gregory Campbell, Ian Paisley Junior look home and dry

 

TOO CLOSE TO CALL

East Belfast: Can Naomi Long hold the seat she sensationally took from DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2010? Or will single unionist candidate and loyalist memories of Alliance’s part in the Belfast City Hall union flag decision ensure DUP’s Gavin Robinson regains the seat?

Fermanagh-South Tyrone: Has Michelle Gildernew secured this seat for Sinn Féin or could DUP-Ulster Unionist Party pact allow Tom Elliott to win it for UUP? Gildernew won the seat by four votes in 2010 from independent unionist candidate Rodney Connor.

South Belfast: SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell must battle to hold off challenge from Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who impressed as Belfast lord mayor, and from DUP junior Minister Jonathan Bell, who thinks SDLP-SF struggle gives him a chance.

THREE BANKERS

West Belfast: Gerry Adams gifted this seat to Paul Maskey after the Sinn Féin president decided to look South to Louth. In the 2010 election Adams had a majority of 17,600. In the 2011 byelection Maskey’s majority was 13,100. Only question for anoraks is will turnoff absence of a real contest lead to a further reduced majority for Maskey.

East Derry: The DUP’s Gregory Campbell, after all that “curry my yogurt” lampooning the Irish language publicity, should stroll home.

North Antrim: Ian Paisley junior having comfortably seen off his Traditional Unionist Voice challenger Jim Allister in 2010 should have no difficulty maintaining the Paisley name in the House of Commons.