GENERAL ELECTION 2015

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Fifteen minutes after the polls close in the Westminster general election the first ballot boxes from the Lagan Valley constituency are opened at the Lisburn Leisureplex count centre. Declaration expected by 1:30am. The seat was held last time round by Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP with a majority of 10,486.

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A confident Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP in Lisburn count centre checks the Lagan Valley tally figures.

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) at the Lisburn count centre Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) at the Lisburn count centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) at the Lisburn count centre Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) at the Lisburn count centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Jeffrey Donaldson DUP tops poll Lagan Valley #GE2015 increased vote: 19055 votes.

Jefrrey Donaldson prepares to gon on BBC TV after winning the Lagan Valley seat Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Jefrrey Donaldson prepares to gon on BBC TV after winning the Lagan Valley seat Photo: © Michael Fisher

Lagan Valley: Catney (SDLP) 2500; Donaldson (DUP) 19055; Love (UKIP) 2200 Lunn (ALL) 5544; McGeough (SF) 1144 Morrison  (TUV) 1887; Orr (IND) 756; Osborne (CON) 654; Redpath (UUP) 6055; Total Poll: 39986; Invalid: 191; TVP: 39795; Turnout: 56.19%  #GE2015.

Jefrrey Donaldson prepares to go on RTE Radio after winning the Lagan Valley seat Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Jefrrey Donaldson prepares to go on RTE Radio after winning the Lagan Valley seat Photo: © Michael Fisher

First result in Northern Ireland was Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) win in Lagan Valley. Speaking about his own success and some of the other results that were coming in at the time, Mr Donaldson said in this election the DUP had had many things said about it, but in Lagan Valley the party increased its vote and its majority and now had a resounding mandate from the people of the constituency.

Mr Donaldson added that with the Scottish National Party sweeping up seats previously held by Labour in Scotland, it was important for all pro-unionist parties to work together. “This is an important election, not just for Lagan Valley and Northern Ireland, but it is an important election for the UK. I believe the DUP and our unionist allies will be in a very important position at the end of this election”, he said.

Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP after his election in Lagan Valley Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP after his election in Lagan Valley Photo: © Michael Fisher

“But at the same time in the United Kingdom we face a challenge from the increase in support for nationalism, not least in Scotland,” Mr Donaldson said. “I want to make the plea to all unionists of a like mind that we work to the cause of the Union, because the cause of the Union is greater than any single political party. What we want to ensure is the United kingdom is strong and united, and that is what my party and the other unionist parties are committed to achieving.”

Counting begins for South Down at the Lisburn Leisureplex centre Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Counting begins for South Down at the Lisburn Leisureplex centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Tweets from @fishbelfast: Quick turnaround in Lisburn Leisureplex as count starts in South Down constituency.

Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) in confident mood at Lisburn count for South Down #GE2015.

Turnout South Down is 57.16% result by 4:30am with Margaret Ritchie likely to retain seat. Total poll 43,000.

In South Down Margaret Ritchie of the SDLP held her seat with a reduced majority of around 5800.

Margaret Ritchie awaits the result at Lisburn Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Margaret Ritchie awaits the result at Lisburn Photo: © Michael Fisher

Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) holds South Down seat 18,077 1st preference votes: majority down from 8400 to around 6000.

South Down result #GE2015 at Lisburn count: Buchan (CON) 318; Hazzard (SF) 12186; McKee (UUP) 3964; Reilly (UKIP) 3044; Ritchie (SDLP) 18077; Todd (ALL) 1622; Jim Wells (DUP) 3486; Majority: 5891; Total Poll: 43000 Invalid votes: 303 TVP: 42697; Turnout: 57.16%.

Margaret Ritchie waits to be interviewed by the BBC at Lisburn count centre Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Margaret Ritchie waits to be interviewed by the BBC at Lisburn count centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

Speaking after the result was declared, Margaret Ritchie said she was delighted to be able to represent the people of South Down once again, particularly against a Tory majority government. She went on: “I want to thank the people of South Down for once again placing their trust in me and in the SDLP to represent their interests at Westminster. I also want to thank the hundreds of activists who knocked doors, delivered leaflets and contributed to our campaign here. This result is a testament to their enduring effort”.

Celebrations for the re-elected MP from South Down, Margaret Ritchie  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Celebrations for the re-elected MP from South Down, Margaret Ritchie Photo: © Michael Fisher

“There’s no time to rest though. We know now that the next government will be a Tory one, and with that comes a referendum on the EU and billions of pounds of cuts to public spending. The SDLP team at Westminster will work together to do everything we can to mitigate against their savage cuts. The election may be over but the work is just beginning”, she told her supporters.   

The celebration cake for Margaret Ritchie Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The celebration cake for Margaret Ritchie Photo: © Michael Fisher

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