North Belfast 1973-1982


DUP V/UUUP UUP U(P) / UPNI Oth U Alliance NILP Oth WP/RC SDLP SF
82a 21.1%* 2.4% 25.6%*
8.8%* 7.1%*
4.1% 7.0% 12.7%* 11.3%
79w 27.6%
25.3% 10.0%
9.7% 4.5%
4.5% 18.5%
75cc 9.5%* 4.3% 27.1%** 8.2%* 14.2%* 6.2% 6.1%
1.3% 23.0%*
74wo

62.6%

8.0% 5.2%

24.1%
74wf

43.8% 25.9%

5.9%

24.4%
73a 14.3%* 5.3% 8.2%* 38.2%** 1.1% 6.6%* 4.6%
1.7% 19.9%*
See spreadsheets for 1973 Assembly, February 1974 Westminster, October 1974 Westminster, 1975 Convention, 1979 Westminster and 1982 Assembly.

Assembly election, 20 October 1982 (five seats)

John Carson (UUP) 7,798
George Seawright (DUP) 4,929
Joe Austin (SF) 4,029
Paschal O'Hare (SDLP) 3,190
William Gault (DUP) 2,618
Paul Maguire (Alliance) 2,527
Seamus Lynch (WP) 2,516
*Frank Millar (Ind U) 2,047
Alban Maginness (SDLP) 1,333
Peter Smith (UUP) 984
Samuel Doyle (Loyalist) 890
Nelson McCausland (UUUP) 858
William Boyd (Ind) 745
Peter Emerson (Ecology) 412
Raymond Trimble (UUP) 369
Fergus O'Hare (People's Democracy) 298
Bill Lavery (Loyalist) 196
Votes by party:
UUP 9,151 (25.6%) 1 seat (1.5 quotas)
DUP 7,547 (21.1%) 1 seat (1.3 quotas)
SDLP 4,523 (12.7%) 1 seat (0.8 quotas)
SF 4,029 (11.3%, 0.7 quotas)
Oth U 3,133 (8.8%) 1 seat (0.5 quotas)
Alliance 2,527 (7.1%) 1 seat (0.4 quotas)
WP 2,516 (7.0%, 0.4 quotas)
UUUP 858 (2.4%, 0.1 quotas)
Ind 745 (2.1%, 0.1 quotas)
Ecology 412 (1.2%, 0.1 quotas)
PD 298 (0.2%, 0.1 quotas)

Electorate: 62,931
Votes cast: 36,905 (58.6%); spoilt votes 1,166 (3.2%)
Valid votes: 35,739; quota: 5,957

* Elected to the 1975 Constitutional Convention

In 1975, Unionists had won five seats out of six here; in 1982 it was down to three out of five, with an extraordinary struggle for the final seat taking Alliance's Paul Maguire ahead of SF's Joe Austin on the last count by 4,757 votes to 4,573. Over the fourteen counts, Maguire had picked up 2,230 votes and Austin only 544. North Belfast rather specialised in unlikely election results at this time.

Westminster Election, 3 May 1979 (one seat)

Johnny McQuade (DUP) 11,690 (27.6%)
Cecil Walker (UUP) 10,695 (25.3%)
Paschal O'Hare (SDLP) 7,823 (18.5%)
Anne Dickson (UPNI) 4,220 (10.0%) best result for UPNI in Northern Ireland
John Cushnahan (Alliance) 4,120 (9.7%)
Seamus Lynch (Republican Clubs) 1,907 (4.5%) best result for Republican Clubs in Northern Ireland
Alan Carr (NILP) 1,889 (4.5%)

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) majority: 995; Electorate: 65,099; Turnout: 66.0%)

An extraordinary result for the DUP, which also gained East Belfast by a whisker in this election. McQuade was probably the oldest new MP of the twentieth century; his 27.6% share of the vote is less than most runners-up get in a single-seat election, and indeed only two other MPs in the twentieth century were elected with less (F.J. Privett, who got 26.8% in Portsmouth Central for the Conservatives in 1922, and Sir Russell Johnston, now Lord Russell-Johnston, who got 26.1% in Inverness in 1992 for the Liberal Democrats).

The sitting UUP MP, John Carson, had been deselected (perhaps because of his support of the outgoing Labour government) but was elected to the 1982 Assembly as a UUP candidate and remained a city councillor until 1997.

Constitutional Convention election, 1 May 1975 (six seats)

*Gerry Fitt MP (SDLP) 6,454
Billy Bell (UUP - UUUC) 6,268
*Frank Millar (Ind Loy - UUUC) 5,687
*William Morgan (UUP - UUUC) 5,558
William Annon (DUP - UUUC) 4,132
Thomas Donnelly (SDLP) 3,596
*Lloyd Hall-Thompson (UPNI) 3,577
*John Ferguson (Alliance) 2,207
Bill Lavery (VUP - UUUC) 1,884
William Boyd (NILP) 1,749
John Stewart (NILP) 898
Seamus Lynch (Republican Clubs) 556
Noel Trimble (Ind Loyalist) 525
James Robinson (Alliance) 518
Vote by party:
[UUUC got 23,529 votes (54.0%) and won 4 seats (3.8 quotas)]
UUP-UUUC 11,826 (27.1%) 2 seats (1.9 quotas)
SDLP 10,050 (23.0%) 1 seat (1.6 quotas)
Ind Loy - UUUC 5,687 (13.0%) 1 seat (0.9 quotas)
DUP 4,132 (9.5%) 1 seat (0.7 quotas)
UPNI 3,577 (8.2%) 1 seat (0.7 quotas)
Alliance 2,725 (6.2%, 0.4 quotas)
NILP 2,647 (6.1%, 0.4 quotas)
VUP - UUUC 1,884 (4.3%, 0.3 quotas)
Rep Clubs 556 (1.3%, 0.1 quotas)
Ind Loy 525 (1.2%, 0.1 quotas)

Electorate: 70,673
Votes cast: 44,739 (63.3%); spoilt votes 1,130 (2.5%)
Valid votes: 43,609; quota 6,230

* member of the 1973 Assembly

Five of the six 1973 Assembly members stood again here and four were re-elected, with Alliance losing their seat to the Unionists (Ferguson was eliminated on the last count, 600 votes behind both the UPNI's Hall-Thompson and Donnelly of the SDLP; had he been ahead of either, he would probably have been re-elected). The SDLP came close in the final count, Thomas Donnelly finishing on 5,124 votes to William Annon's 5,800 (though 200 undistributed votes from a UUP surplus mean the effective gap was wider). The shift to more hard-line Unionism is apparent: four out of five Unionists elected were from the UUUC, compared with two pro-White paper candidates out of four Unionists elected in 1973. William Morgan was elected for the more progressive wing of the UUP in 1973 but as a hardliner in 1975.

Westminster election, 10 October 1974 (one seat)

*John Carson (UUP- UUUC) 29,622 (62.6%)
Thomas Donnelly (SDLP) 11,400 (24.1%)
@John Ferguson (Alliance) 3,807 (8.0%)
William Boyd (NILP) 2,481 (5.2%)

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP - UUUC) majority: 18,222; Electorate: 71,774; Turnout: 66.6%

* sitting MP
@ member of Assembly (which by this time had been prorogued).

A solid result for Carson. The pro-Assembly Unionist votes from earlier in the year split almost exactly 2:1 between the UUP and Alliance candidates.

Westminster Election, 28 February 1974 (one seat)

John Carson (UUP - UUUC) 21,531 (43.8%)
David Smyth (Pro-Assembly Unionist) 12,755 (25.9%)
Thomas Donnelly (SDLP) 12,003 (24.4%)
Sandy Scott (NILP) 2,917 (5.9%)

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP - UUUC) majority: 8,766; Electorate: 71,081; Turnout: 69.9%

Another constituency where the UUUC won despite a majority of the electorate voting for pro-power-sharing candidates. Stratton Mills, the previous Unionist MP, had first of all refused to relinquish the Conservative whip when the rest of the Unionists at Westminster had seceded, and then briefly joined the Alliance Party, giving it its only representation in the House of Commons to date.

Assembly election, 28 June 1973 (six seats)

*Gerry Fitt (SDLP) 8,264
*Lloyd Hall-Thompson (UUP, pro-White Paper) 5,694
William Morgan (UUP, pro-White Paper) 5,190
*John McQuade (DUP) 5,148
Cecil Walker (UUP, pro-White Paper) 4,354
Frank Millar (UUP, anti-White Paper) 4,187
Wilson Gamble (UUP, pro-White Paper) 4,161
Fred Proctor (DUP) 2,112
John Ferguson (Alliance) 1,958
Thomas Donnelly (SDLP) 1,861
William Baillie (Vanguard) 1,859
*Vivian Simpson (NILP) 1,742
Seamus Lynch (Republican Clubs) 854
Billy Hull (Vanguard) 852
Jack Smith (Alliance) 742
Keith Jones (Alliance) 675
John Stewart (NILP) 571
Tommy Lyttle (Loyalist) 560
Votes by party:
[UUP got 23,586 votes (46.4%) and won 3 seats (3.3 quotas)]
UUP (pro) 19,399 (38.2%) 2 seats (2.7 quotas)
SDLP 10,125 (19,9%) 1 seat (1.4 quotas)
DUP 7,260 (14.3%) 1 seat (1.0 quotas)
UUP (anti) 4,187 (8.2%) 1 seat (0.6 quotas)
Alliance 3,375 (6.6%) 1 seat (0.5 quotas) 
Vanguard 2,711 (5.3%, 0.4 quotas) 
NILP 2,313 (4.6%, 0.3 quotas)
Rep Clubs 854 (1.7%, 0.1 quotas)
Loyalist 560 (1.1%, 0.1 quotas)

Electorate: 75,768
Votes cast: 52,070 (68.7%); spoilt votes 1,286 (2.5%)
Valid votes: 50,784; quota 7,255

* Member of the Northern Ireland House of Commons when it was dissolved.

All four of the Stormont MPs whose constituencies had been contained in the North Belfast Westminster constituency fought in this election. Three were successful, as was William Morgan who had also previously represented a North Belfast constituency in Stormont and was also a former member of the Senate. Alliance managed to squeak into the last seat with John Ferguson ending on 6146 votes to Cecil Walker's 6058, the closest result anywhere in the election, with another 19 undistributed votes from Morgan's surplus meaning the real margin was even tighter. Walker of course ended up representing the constituency at Westminster from 1983 to 2001.

Gerry Fitt was the leader of the SDLP and Deputy Chief Executive in the power-sharing government; Major Lloyd Hall-Thompson was the Executive's Chief Whip.

I would also like to salute Jack Smith, an Alliance candidate in this election, subsequently one of my predecessors as Party Organiser of the Alliance Party, and with Sydney Elliot co-author of computer analyses of the 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1989 district council elections.


See also:

Results from 1973 to 1982 for each seat: East Belfast | North Belfast | South Belfast | West Belfast | North Antrim | South Antrim | Armagh | North Down | South Down | Fermanagh and South Tyrone | Londonderry | Mid Ulster

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.

Nicholas Whyte, 25 March 2003.



The Author | What's New | Your Comments


Disclaimer: Nicholas Whyte 1998-2004 Last Updated on Wednesday, 12-Jan-2005 12:12