North Down

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Maps by Conal Kelly, graph by Fergal Whyte

This constituency takes in the northern part of North Down and Ards District Council. The member of parliament is Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent - she left the UUP in early 2010); in the 2001 election, standing as a UUP candidate, she defeated the UKUP leader, Bob McCartney, who himself had first won the seat in a 1995 by-election caused by the death of Sir James Kilfedder, the leader of the Ulster Popular Unionist Party, who had represented North Down since the 1970s. The DUP hold three seats here, and Alliance, the UUP and the Greens one each (the DUP gained a UUP seat in 2011, the Greens gained McCartney's seat in 2007, and the DUP gained seats from the UUP and Women's Coalition in 2003). See 1983-1995 North Down results, 1973-82 North Down results and 1950-1970North Down results.

Assembly speculation: With the UUP's recruitment of veteran independent councillor Alan Chambers, I think they would be disappointed not to make a gain here - either the DUP's third seat, or from the Greens who have squeaked in on transfers in the last two elections.

The constituency was greatly reduced in size in 1983 and again altered in 1995, but unchanged in 2010.

The 2011 census found that the average age of North Down residents was 41.04 (highest of the 18 constituencies), and the median age 42 (also the highest). 12.59% of the population were or had been brought up as Catholics (the lowest of the 18 constituencies), 74.44% were or had been brought up as Protestants (2nd), 1.15% were of non-Christian religious background (3rd), and 11.83% had no religion (the most).

In the multi-option national identity question, 71.86% said that they had British identity (the most of 18 constituencies), 8.65% said that they had Irish identity (the least), 32.70% Northern Irish (the most), 2.93% English, Scots or Welsh (the most), and 2.23% something other (14th).

20.81% lived in households of social grade AB (3rd of the 18 constituencies), 34.15% in C1 households (2nd), 21.00% C2 (13th) and 24.05% DE (17th).

3.09% claim some ability in the Irish language (18th of 18 constituencies) and 9.0% in Ulster Scots (6th).

See spreadsheets from the 2011 Assembly election, the 2010 Westminster election, the 2007 Assembly election, the 2005 Westminster election, the 2003 Assembly election, the 2001 Westminster election, the 1998 Assembly election, the 1997 Westminster election and the 1996 Forum/talks election. See also the detailed guide from 2007 by "Sammy Morse".

Recent election results


DUP UUP Cons Oth U Alliance Green Oth SDLP SF
2015w
23.6%
4.4% 55.2% 8.6% 5.4% 0.9% 1.0% 0.8%
2014lg
31.9% 17.3% 3.4% 7.5% 15.1% 7.9% 14.6% 2.3% 0.0%
2011a
44.2% 10.4%
8.9% 18.6% 7.9% 6.3% 2.7% 1.0%
2011lg
38.8% 14.3% 2.6% 2.0% 17.9% 6.8% 13.5% 1.2%
2010w
20.4% 68.2% 5.6% 3.1%
2.0% 0.8%
2007a
34.1% 23.7% 2.8% 7.1% 10.2% 9.2% 8.0% 3.6% 1.3%
2005w 35.1% 50.4% 2.5%
7.6%
0.7% 3.1% 0.6%
2005lg 34.3% 22.8% 1.1% 4.3% 15.4% 8.2% 12.2% 1.6%

NB that the UUP supported a Conservative candidate in 2010, and the Conservatives supported the UUP in the 2011 Assembly election.

2015 Westminster election

*Sylvia Hermon (Independent) 17,689 (49.2%, -14.1%)
Alex Easton (DUP) 8,487 (23.6%)
Andrew Muir (Alliance) 3,086 (8.6%, +3.0%)
Steven Agnew (Green) 1,958 (5.4%, +2.3%)
Mark Brotherston (Conservative) 1,593 (4.4%)
Jonny Lavery (UKIP) 1,482 (4.1%)
William Cudworth (TUV) 686 (1.9%, -3.0%)
Tom Woolley (SDLP) 355 (1.0%, -1.0%)
Glenn Donnelly (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 338 (0.9%)
Therese McCartney (SF) 273 (0.8%, ±0.0%)
Electorate: 64,207; Total Poll: 36,041 (56.1%); Invalid Votes: 97 (0.3%); Valid Votes: 35,944

Hermon's vote dropped considerably due to tactical unwind from the 2010 election, but she was still returned by a decent margin.

If cast in a six-seat Assembly election, these votes would have given her three seats, the DUP two and Alliance one.

2014 local government election

From the 2011 census, North Down includes:

The entire North Down and Ards DEA of Bangor Central
The entire North Down and Ards DEA of Bangor East and Donaghadee
The entire North Down and Ards DEA of Bangor West
The entire North Down and Ards DEA of Holywood and Clandeboye
11% of the North Down and Ards DEA of Ards Peninsula
and
1% of the Belfast DEA of Ormiston

With some adjustment for voter community background, I project the 2014 results as:

DUP 8249 (32%)
UUP 4483 (17%)
Alliance 3910 (15%)
Inds 2451 (9%)
Green 2031 (8%)
TUV 1159 (4%)
NI21 924 (4%)
Cons 888 (3%)
UKIP 759 (3%)
SDLP 592 (2%)
Community Partnership 399 (2%)
PUP 7 (0.03%)
SF 6 (0.02%)

If cast in a six-seat STV election, those votes would certainly give the DUP two seats and the UUP and Alliance one each. The last two would be most likely to go to the Greens and the third DUP candidate, depending on balancing.

2011 Assembly election (six seats)

@Alex Easton (DUP) 5,175 (18.4%)
Gordon Dunne (DUP) 3,741 (13.3%)
@Peter Weir (DUP) 3,496 (12.4%)
@Stephen Farry (Alliance) 3,131 (11.1%)
Steven Agnew (Green) 2,207 (7.9%)
Anne Wilson (Alliance) 2,100 (7.5%)
@Alan McFarland (Independent) 1,879 (6.7%)
Alan Chambers (Independent) 1,765 (6.3%)
Leslie Cree (UUP) 1,585 (5.6%)
Colin Breen (UUP) 1,343 (4.8%)
Liam Logan (SDLP) 768 (2.7%)
Fred McGlade (UKIP) 615 (2.2%)
Conor Keenan (SF) 293 (1.0%)

@ member of the Assembly when it was dissolved.

DUP 12,412 (44.2%, +10.1%) 3 seats (+1)
Alliance 5,231 (18.6%, +8.4%) 1 seat
Independents 3,624 (13.0%)
UUP 2,928 (10.4%, -13.3%) 1 seat (-1)
Green 2,207 (7.9%, -1.4%) 1 seat
SDLP 768 (2.7%, -0.9%)
UKIP 615 (2.2%)
SF 293 (1.0%, -0.3%)

Electorate 62,170
Votes cast 28,528 (45.9%); spoilt votes 430 (1.5%)
Valid votes 28,098; quota 4,015

Agnew held the Green seat by 99 votes ahead of Alliance's Anne Wilson, with 62 votes of Stephen Farry's surplus undistributed, which makes this realistically an even tighter result than Fermanagh-South Tyrone. Wilson had survived elimation on a previous round by being 45 votes ahead of Alan McFarland, though probably her votes would not have changed the final result; McFarland had been 95 votes ahead of Chambers in a previous round. DUP gain from UUP, with the UUP vote utterly splintered and devastated, in a seat which they held at Westminster until their MP's resignation from the party only a year or so before.

2011 local government election

The constituency comprises the whole of North Down Council and 3 of the 6 wards of the Ards East DEA of Ards Council (Donaghadee North, Donaghadee South and Millisle). My projection of votes cast in 2011 is:

DUP 10,867 (38.8%)
Alliance 5,022 (17.9%)
UUP 4,014 (14.3%)
Green 1,915 (6.8%)
Community Partnership 800 (2.9%)
Cons 727 (2.6%)
UKIP 427 (1.5%)
SDLP 338 (1.2%)
TUV 144 (0.5%)
Independents 3,783 (13.5%)

In a six-seat STV election, these votes would have given the DUP three seats and Alliance and the UUP one each, with the last between an independent, a Green, and possibly a fortunate second Alliance candidate.

2010 Westminster election (one seat)

*Sylvia Hermon (Independent) 21,181 (63.3%)
Ian Parsley (UCUNF) 6,817 (20.4%, -32.5%)
@Stephen Farry (Alliance) 1,876 (5.6%, -2.0%)
Mary Kilpatrick (TUV) 1,634 (4.9%)
Steven Agnew (Green) 1,043 (3.1%)
Liam Logan (SDLP) 680 (2.0%, -1.1%)
Vincent Parker (Sinn Féin) 250 (0.8%, +0.2%)

* incumbent
@ elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly from this constituency

A storming performance by incumbent Sylvia Hermon, who clearly took votes from all her political party rivals; she was helped by the DUP's decision not to contest but I think would have narrowly beaten them anyway even if she had stood. North Down was already unusual as the only constituency where different parties topped the poll in 2005 and 2007; it was remarkable that neither of those parties had its own candidate here in 2010, Parsley being one of two Conservatives in the UCUNF alliance. If this had been an Assembly election, Lady Hermon would have won four seats on her own, the UCUNF one, and the last one between Lady Hermon's fifth self, a second UCUNF candidate and Alliance.

2007 Assembly Election (7 March, six seats)

Full details of each count are available here.
*Alex Easton (DUP) 4946 (16.1%)
*Peter Weir (DUP) 3376 (11.0%)
Stephen Farry (Alliance) 3131 (10.2%)
*Leslie Cree (UUP) 2937 (9.6%)
Brian Wilson (Green) 2839 (9.2%)
*Alan McFarland (UUP) 2245 (7.3%)
Alan Graham (DUP) 2147 (7.0%)
Marion Smith (UUP) 2098 (6.8%)
*Robert McCartney (UKUP) 1806 (5.9%)
Brian Rowan (Independent) 1194 (3.9%)
Alan Chambers (Independent Unionist) 1129 (3.7%)
William Logan (SDLP) 1115 (3.6%)
James Leslie (Conservative) 864 (2.8%)
Deaglan Page (SF) 390 (1.3%)
Elaine Martin (PUP) 367 (1.2%)
Christopher Carter (Independent) 123 (0.4%)

*Elected in 2003 from North Down
DUP 10,469 (34.1%, +10.6%) 2 seats
UUP 7,280 (23.7%, -8.4%) 2 seats
Alliance 3,131 (10.2%, +1.6%) 1 seat
Green 2,839 (9.2%, +6.9%) 1 seat (+1)
UKUP 1,806 (5.9%, -5.7%) (-1)
Rowan 1,194 (3.9%)
Chambers 1,129 (3.7%, +0.2%)
SDLP 1,115 (3.6%, -1.3%)
Conservative 864 (2.8%, +1.2%)
SF 390 (1.3%, +0.4%)
PUP 367 (1.2%, +0.2%))
Carter 123 (0.4%, +0.05%)

Electorate 57,525
Votes cast 30,930 (53.8%); spoilt votes 223 (0.7%)
Valid votes 30,707; quota 4,387

An impressive gain for the Green Party, eliminating Robert McCartney's UKUP from the political scene after twelve years. Graham (DUP) was 731 votes behind McFarland (UUP) on the final count, with undistributed surpluses of 300 from the UUP, 185 from the Green Party and 79 from Alliance, all of which had originated with Smith of the UUP and would therefore have increased the margin. Smith was the UUP's only female candidate in this entire election.

2005 Westminster election (5 May, 1 seat)

*Lady Sylvia Hermon (UUP) 16,268 (50.4% -5.6%)
@Peter Weir (DUP) 11,324 (35.1%)
David Alderdice (Alliance) 2,451 (7.6%)
Liam Logan (SDLP) 1,009 (3.1% -0.3%)
Julian Robertson (Conservative) 822 (2.5% +0.3%)
Chris Carter (Independent) 211 (0.7%)
Janet McCrory (Sinn Fein) 205 (0.6% -0.2%)

* outgoing MP.
@ Member of the Assembly.

A big relief for the UUP who would otherwise have been left with no Westminster seats - but Lady Hermon clearly owes her victory to Alliance tactical votes. These results, projected to a six-seat STV election, would give the UUP three and the DUP two, with the last probably going to Alliance.

2005 Local Government Election

The constituency comprises the whole of North Down Council and 3 of the 6 wards of the Ards East DEA of Ards Council (Donaghadee North, Donaghadee South and Millisle). Votes cast in 2005 were:

DUP 11,034 (34.3%)
UUP 7,343.5 (22.8%)
Alliance 4,958 (15.4%)
Independent 3,180 (9.9%)
Green 2,639 (8.2%)
Women's Coalition 738 (2.3%)
UKUP 734 (2.3%)
PUP 651 (2.0%)
SDLP 526 (1.6%)
Conservative 353 (1.1%)

If these votes were cast in a six-seat STV election, the DUP would have two seats and the UUP and Alliance one each; the last two would be most likely to go to the UUP and the Green Party.

2003 Assembly election (26 November; six seats)

Also available: details of each count with analysis of surplus transfers.
Leslie Cree (UUP) 3900 (12.6%)
*Peter Weir (DUP) 3675 (11.9%)
Alex Easton (DUP) 3570 (11.6%)
*Alan McFarland (UUP) 3421 (11.1%)
*Robert McCartney (UKUP) 3374 (10.9%)
Diana Peacocke (UUP) 2566 (8.3%)
*Eileen Bell (Alliance) 1951 (6.3%)
Liam Logan (SDLP) 1519 (4.9%)
Brian Wilson (Ind) 1350 (4.4%)
*Jane Morrice (NIWC) 1181 (3.8%)
Alan Chambers (Ind) 1077 (3.5%)
John Barry (Green) 730 (2.4%)
Stephen Farry (Alliance) 704 (2.3%)
Julian Robertson (Cons) 491 (1.6%)
Alan Field (Ind) 428 (1.4%)
David Rose (PUP) 316 (1.0%)
Maria George (SF) 264 (0.9%)
Tom Sheridan (UKUP) 209 (0.7%)
Chris Carter (Ind) 109 (0.4%)
UUP 9,887 (32.1%, -0.5%) 2 seats
DUP 7,245 (23.5%, +16.6%) 2 seats
UKUP 3,583 (11.6%, -10.8%) 1 seat Best result for UKUP in Northern Ireland
Inds 2,964 (9.6%, +6.0%)
Alliance 2,655 (8.6%, -5.8%) 1 seat
SDLP 1,519 (4.9%, -0.6%)
NIWC 1,181 (3.8%, -1.0%)
Green 730 (2.4%) Best result for Greens in Northern Ireland
Cons 491 (1.6%, +0.7%) Best result for Conservatives in Northern Ireland
PUP 316 (1.0%, -2.7%)
SF 264 (0.9%)

Electorate 57,422
Votes cast 31,316 (54.5%); spoilt votes 481 (1.5%)
Valid votes 30,835; quota 4,406


The DUP made two gains here, one from the UUP (almost inevitable with Peter Weir's defection) and the other from the NIWC. Eileen Bell benefited from transfers from the Greens, NIWC, SDLP, and independent Brian Wilson; the final margin between the DUP's Easton and the UUP's Peacocke was 421 votes.

North Down had lost 10.96% of its electorate in the great electoral register shake-out, varying from 8.84% in the Harbour ward of North Down to 7.50% in the Donaghadee North ward of Ards. 11 constituencies lost fewer voters, 6 lost more.

2001 Westminster Election (7 June; 1 seat)

Lady Sylvia Hermon (UUP) 20,833 (56.0%)
*@Robert McCartney (UKUP) 13,509 (36.3%)
Marietta Farrell (SDLP) 1,275 (3.4%)
Julian Robertson (Cons) 815 (2.2%) Best result in Northern Ireland
Chris Carter (Ind) 444 (1.2%)
Eamon McConvey (Sinn Fein) 313 (0.8%)

Electorate: 63,212; votes cast: 37,377 (59.1%); spoilt votes: 188 (0.5%)
Valid votes: 37,189; UUP majority 7,324

* outgoing MP
@ member of the Assembly

This eagerly anticipated gain for the UUP was facilitated by the decision of Alliance candidate Stephen Farry to withdraw from the race in order to help defeat McCartney. If this had been a six-seat Assembly election, the UUP would have won four and UKUP two.
I received the news that McCartney had lost in a small radio studio packed with guests of varying political hues, all of whom were delighted. Danny Morrison commented that he had never thought the day would come that he would be cheering on the wife of the former Chief Constable of the RUC.

2001 Local Government Election (7 June)

The constituency comprises all 25 wards in North Down and 3 of the 23 wards in Ards (3 of the 6 wards in the Ards East DEA). However in 2001 only six candidates were nominated in Ards East, and they were declared elected without a vote. The first preference votes cast in the North Down District in 2001 were as follows:

UUP 8883 (27%)
Alliance 5718 (18%)
DUP 4631 (14%)
UKUP 3034 (9%) Best equivalent result in Northern Ireland
PUP 1167 (4%)
NIWC 1166 (4%) Best equivalent result in Northern Ireland
Conservatives 551 (2%) Best equivalent result in Northern Ireland
NIUP 188 (1%)
Independents 7159 (22%)

Including notional votes from Ards East would boost the UUP and DUP fractionally and diminish the votes for the others a little less. The UUP should win two seats in an STV election, and Alliance and the DUP one each. The last two are anybody's.

1998 Assembly Election (25 June; six seats)

Also available: details of each count with analysis of surplus transfers.
*Robert McCartney (UKU) 8,188
#Sir John Gorman (UUP) 4,719
*Alan McFarland (UUP) 4,653
#Eileen Bell (Alliance) 3,669
*Peter Weir (UUP) 2,775
Marietta Farrell (SDLP) 2,048
Jane Morrice (NIWC) 1,808
Gavin Walker (Alliance) 1,699
Alan Graham (DUP) 1,558
Alan Chambers (Ulster Ind) 1,382
Stewart Currie (PUP) 1,376
Brian Wilson (Ind) 1,327
*St Clair McAlister (DUP) 1,013
Leonard Fee (C) 337
Tom Lindsay (UDP) 265
Vanessa Baird-Gunning (Lab) 212
Elizabeth Roche (UKU) 173
Christopher Carter (Ulster's Independent Voice) 72
Andrea Gribben (NLP) 39
UUP 12,147 (32.55%) 3 seats
Best result for UUP in Northern Ireland
UKU 8,361 (22.41%) 1 seat
Alliance 5,368 (14.39%) 1 seat
DUP 2,571 (6.89%)
SDLP 2,048 (5.49%)
NIWC 1,808 (4.85%) 1 seat
Ulster Ind 1,382 (3.70%)
PUP 1,376 (3.69%)
Ind 1,327 (3.56%)
C 337 (0.90%)
UDP 265 (0.71%)
Lab 212 (0.57%)
UIV 72 (0.19%)
NLP 39 (0.10%)

Electorate: 62,942
Votes cast: 37,874 (60.2%); spoilt votes: 561 (1.5%)
Valid votes 37,313; quota: 5,331

* elected in 1996 Forum/talks election from North Down
# elected in 1996 Forum/talks election as a 'top-up' candidate.

The poor performance of the DUP, as well as the success of the Women's Coalition and the UUP's third seat, were all major surprises here in perhaps the most volatile constituency in Northern Ireland. The SDLP's good performance was not enough to prevent them being eliminated; their transfers pulled Jane Morrice of the Women's Coalition ahead of the DUP. The last seat went to Peter Weir of the UUP, who finished with 4,751 votes to Alan Graham's 4,443 (Sir John Gorman's undistributed surplus of 15 votes would have slightly widened the gap.)

1997 Local Government Election

Ulster Unionist Party 5,273.6 (25%)
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 4,460 (21%) Best equivalent result for Alliance in Northern Ireland
Democratic Unionist Party 2,228.8 (11%)
United Kingdom Unionist Party 1,865.6 (9%)
Conservative Party 1,372 (7%)
Progressive Unionist Party 871 (4%)
Ulster Democratic Party 131 (1%)
Others 4,633 (22%)
Total valid 20,835 (33.19% of electorate)

1997 Westminster Election (one seat)

*ƒRobert McCartney (United Kingdom Unionist Party) 12,817 (35%)
ƒAlan McFarland (Ulster Unionist Party) 11,368 (31%)
ƒSir Oliver Napier (Alliance Party of Northern Ireland) 7,554 (21%)
Leonard Fee (Conservative Party) 1,810 (5%)
Marietta Farrell (Social Democratic and Labour Party) 1,602 (4%)
Jane Morrice (Northern Ireland Women's Coalition) 1,240 (3%)
Tom Mullins (Natural Law Party) 108 (0.30%)
Robert Mooney (Northern Ireland Party) 57 (0.16%)
Turnout 36,556 (58.02%)

ƒmember of the Forum

1996 Forum Election (five seats)

Also available: full list of 1996 candidates

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 9,270 (26%) 2 seats (Peter Weir, Alan McFarland elected)
United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) 7,579 (21%) 1 seat (Robert McCartney elected)
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 6,699 (18%) 1 seat (St Clair McAlister elected)
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) 6,186 (17%) 1 seat (Sir Oliver Napier elected)
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 1,798 (5%)
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) 1,694 (5%)
Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) 651 (2%)
Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) 496 (1%)
Conservative Party (Con) 444 (1%)
Independent Chambers 334 (1%)
Green Party 283 (1%)
Sinn Féin (SF) 275 (1%)
Labour (Lab) 171 (0.47%)
Independent Democratic Unionist Party 97 (0.27%)
Democratic Left (DL) 95 (0.26%)
Workers Party (WP) 60 (0.17%)
Ulster Independence Movement (UIM) 49 (0.14%)
Ulster's Independent Voice (UIV) 49 (0.14%)
Natural Law Party (NLP) 15 (0.04%)

Electorate: 62,810; votes cast: 36,271 (57.7%); spoilt votes: 26 (0.0%); valid votes: 36,245

Napier had been elected to the 1973 Assembly, the 1975 Convention and the 1982 Assembly from East Belfast; McCartney was elected in 1982 for North Down.

Results 1996-2007


DUP UKUP UUP Cons Oth U Alliance NIWC Green Oth SDLP SF
2007a
34% 6% 24% 3% 4% 10%
9% 4% 4% 1%
2005w 35%
50% 3%
8%

1% 3% 1%
2005lg 34% 2% 23% 1% 2% 15% 2% 8% 10% 2%
2003a 23% 12% 32% 2% 5% 9% 4% 2% 10% 5% 1%
2001w
36% 56% 2%



1% 3% 1%
2001lg* 14% 9% 27% 2% 4% 17%

22%

1998a 7% 22% 33% 1% 8% 14% 5%
4% 5%
1997lg 11% 9% 25% 7% 5% 21%

22%

1997w
35% 31% 5%
21% 3%
0% 4%
1996f 18% 21% 26% 1% 8% 17% 1% 1% 2% 5% 1%

See also:Full 2003 results from North Down | Full 1998 results from North Down | The Boundary Commission's Provisional Recommendations | Boundary Commission 2003 | Jim Riley's analysis of votes and seats in the 1998 Assembly election | The constituencies

Other sites based at ARK: ORB (Online Research Bank) | CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) | Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey

Your comments, please! Send an email to me at nicholas.whyte@gmail.com.
This page has been developed with the support of a project grant from the New Initiatives Fund of the Electoral Commission. However, any views expressed on this page or, in particular, other pages of this website are those of the author and not necessarily shared by The Electoral Commission.

Nicholas Whyte, 3 June 1998; last updated 9 May 2015.



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