Members of the European
Parliament have been directly elected since 1979. The whole
of Northern Ireland forms a three-member constituency, and
elections take place every five years by proportional
representation (using the Single Transferable
Vote) as for local councils and most regional-level
elections. The first five elections produced very similar results,
with the DUP (Ian Paisley Sr), SDLP (John Hume) and UUP (John
Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, in 1979 and 1984, Jim Nicholson in
1989, 1994 and 1999) taking one seat each at every election. In
2004, Paisley was replaced on the DUP ticket by Jim Allister, and
Hume was replaced on the SDLP ticket by Martin Morgan; the seat,
however, was lost to Bairbre de Brún of Sinn Féin. Allister left
the DUP in 2007, and lost his seat in 2009 to Diane Dodds of his
former party. Bairbre de Brún of Sinn Féin resigned on health
grounds in 2012 and was replaced by her party colleague Martina
The 2009 European elections took place on 22 May 2014, and the
votes were counted on Monday 26 May and Tuesday 27 May.
Jim Allister MLA, the first former MEP for Northern Ireland to seek re-election after defeat; he is the leader of Traditional Unionist Voice and represents North Antrim in the Assembly. He served as an MEP 2004-09, having previously represented DUP in the 1982-86 Assembly for North Antrim. He came close to winning the new East Antrim seat for the DUP in the 1983 Westminster election, and was a DUP councillor in Newtownabbey from 1985 to 1989.
Martina Anderson MEP of Sinn Féin; she has been a member
of the European Parliament since 2012. She was elected to the
Assembly from Foyle in 2007 and 2011, but resigned her seat there
on becoming an MEP.
Alex Attwood MLA of the SDLP; has been a member of the
Assembly for West Belfast since 1998; was elected to Belfast City
Council in 1993, 1997 and 2001.
Mark Brotherston of the Conservative Party; this is his
first election, but he was also contesting (and lost) a local
government seat in the new North Down and Ards council.
Ross Brown of the Green Party NI; this is his first election, but he was also contesting (and won) a local government seat in the new Belfast City Council.
Diane Dodds MEP of the DUP; she has been a member of the
European Parliament since 2009, and previously represented West
Belfast in the Assembly 2003-2007 and was elected to Belfast City
Council in 2005.
Anna Lo MLA of the Alliance Party; she has represented
South Belfast in the Assembly since 2007.
Tina McKenzie of NI21; this is her first election, but she was also contesting (and lost) a local government seat in the new Belfast City Council.
Jim Nicholson MEP of the UUP, Northern Ireland's longest serving representative in Europe; he has been a member of the European Parliament since 1989 and was previously MP for Newry and Armagh from 1983-1986, a member of the 1982-86 Assembly for Armagh, and a councillor in Armagh from 1977 to 1997
and Henry Reilly of UKIP; he was elected to Newry and Mourne
Council for the UUP in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005, and again as
UKIP in 2011; he was also contesting (and won) a local government
seat in the new Newry, Mourne and Down council.
Martina Anderson (SF) 159,813 (25.5%, -0.5%) elected
Diane Dodds (DUP) 131,163 (20.9%, +2.7%)
Jim Nicholson (UUP) 83,438 (13.3%, -3.8%) – worst UUP euro result
Alex Attwood (SDLP) 81,594 (13.0%, -3.2%) – worst ever SDLP result
Jim Allister (TUV) 75,806 (12.1%, -1.6%)
Anna Lo (Alliance) 44,432 (7.1%, +1.6%) – best ever euro result
Henry Reilly (UKIP) 24,584 (3.9%)
Ross Brown (Green) 10,598 (1.7% -1.6%)
Tina McKenzie (NI21) 10,553 (1.7%)
Mark Brotherston (Conservative) 4,144 (0.7%)
(NB Nicholson supported by Conservatives in 2009.)
Total poll 636,093 (51%, up from 43% last time); total valid poll 626,125; quota 156,532
I am grateful to Peter Weir MLA for pointing out that this is
probably the first ever election across Northern Ireland in which
a majority of votes were cast for women.
Anderson’s 3,281 surplus could not have pulled Brotherston ahead
of McKenzie, so the 4,144 Conservative votes transferred as
Dodds (DUP) + 668 (16.1%) = 131,631
Nicholson (UUP) + 980 (23.6%) = 84,418
Attwood (SDLP) + 196 (4.7%) = 81,790
Allister (TUV) + 376 (9.1%) = 76,182
Lo (Alliance) + 546 (13.2%) = 44,978
Reilly (UKIP) + 330 (8.0%) = 24,914
Brown (Green) + 325 (7.8%) = 10,923
McKenzie (NI21) +270 (6.5%) = 10,823
453 (10.9%) non-transferable.
Most unfortunately, the total of Anderson’s surplus and McKenzie
and Brown’s votes was slightly more than Reilly’s total at this
stage, so all 159,183 SF votes now had to be examined for their
next valid preference (ie anyone except Brotherston) and
reallocated at a value of .03. This brought the remaining
candidates to the following totals (percentages are the share of
Anderson’s total first preference vote which went to each
candidate, not the share of the transferred surplus):
Dodds (DUP) + 14.52 (0.3%) = 131,845.52
Nicholson (UUP) +8.31 (0.2%) = 84,426.31
Attwood (SDLP) + 2056.26 (42.9%) = 83,846.26
Allister (TUV) + 13.53 (0.3%) = 76,195.53
Lo (Alliance) + 314.70 (6.6%) = 45,292.70
Reilly (UKIP) + 31.08 (0.6%) = 24,945.08
Brown (Green) + 115.53 (2.4%) = 11,038.53
McKenzie (NI21) + 39.00 (0.8%) = 10,862.00
The non-transferable figure is 688.07, but in fact 73,382 (45.9%) of Anderson’s papers did not have a further preference (or only for Brotherston).
Brown and McKenzie’s joint total still being less than Reilly’s,
both are eliminated and the Green and NI21 votes transferred as
Dodds (DUP) + 1,619.98 (7.4%) = 133,465.5
Attwood (SDLP) + 3,182.57 (14.5%) = 87,028.83
Nicholson (UUP) + 2,246.23 (10.3%) = 86,672.54
Allister (TUV) + 870.05 (4.0%) = 77,065.58
Lo (Alliance) + 8,661.10 (39.5%) = 53,953.80
Reilly (UKIP + 1,072.28 (4.9%) = 26,017.36
4,248.32 (19.4%) non-transferable.
Reilly and Lo's votes together were just ahead of Allister's, so
Reilly alone was excluded. He told me that he thought his transfer
would split fairly evenly between the three remaining Unionist
candidates, and he was right.
Dodds (DUP) +6,325.66 (24.3%) = 139,791.16
Nicholson (UUP) + 5,628.81 (21.6%) = 92,301.35
Attwood (SDLP) +1,118.53 (4.3%) = 88,147.36
Allister (TUV) +7,372 (28.3%) = 84,437.58
Lo (Alliance) + 1,392.85 (5.4%) = 55,346.65
4,179.51 (16.1%) non-transferable
Not hugely astonishing that Reilly's transfers failed to pull Lo
ahead of Allister, so she was eliminated.
Dodds (DUP) + 3,218.37 (5.8%) = 143,009.53
Attwood (SDLP) + 24,675.48 (44.6%) = 112,822.84
Nicholson (UUP) +6,959.22 (12.6%) = 99,260.57
Allister (TUV) +1,582.78 (2.9%) = 86,020.36
18,910.8 (34.2%) non-transferable
At this point only 13,240 votes separated Allister and Nicholson,
which is the closest we have ever come to a European parliament
seat shifting outside the big four parties. However, Allister
Dodds (DUP) +36,293.00 (42.2%) = 179,302.53
Nicholson (UUP) +36,733.17 (42.7%) = 135,993.74
Attwood (SDLP) +2,158.80 (2.5%) = 114,981.64
10,835.39 (12.6%) non-transferable
By a slightly obscure provision of the rules, Dodds was declared
elected after only Allister's first preference votes had been
examined, and as he'd picked up another 11,000 in the meantime
it's quite likely that she would have got more if they had all
been counted. She now had a surplus of 22,770.53.
The percentages given are those of the 36,293 1-Allister 2-Dodds
papers as a whole.
Nicholson (UUP) +22456.04 (83.6%) = 158,449.78
Attwood (SDLP) +296.00 (1.1%) = 115,277.64
The non-transferable figure given is 18.49, but in fact 5,457
(15.0%) of the papers had no preference for either Nicholson or
This was the longest European election count ever in Northern
Ireland. I was brought in by the BBC to help with live coverage
between 2.15pm and 4.15 pm on the Monday; by the time we went off
air at 6, there was still no first round result, and the final
declaration was just over 24 hours later. I think it was more fun
for me than for the candidates.
No Northern Ireland candidate is affiliated to what is currently
the European Parliament's largest group, the European People's
The SDLP are members of the Party of European Socialists, and
Attwood will presumably sit with their parliamentary group of
Socialists and Democrats if elected.
As far as I know, Alliance are not currently affiliated with the
liberal ALDE group, though presumably they would approach Anna Lo
to join if she is elected.
Brown will presumably sit with the Green / European Free Alliance
group if he is elected.
Nicholson sits as a member of the European Conservatives and Reformers, who also include the UK Conservatives. Brotherston will presumably sit with them also if he wins.
The United European Left/Nordic Green Left group includes Sinn
Fein and therefore also Martina Anderson.
Diane Dodds sits as a non-inscrite, as Jim Allister and
Ian Paisley were before her.
I have no information about the group intentions of NI21 and TUV,
though I would expect the latter to go for non-inscrit
This graph shows the performances of the main parties in the
seven direct elections to the European parliament held so far
(fuller details in table below). You can find a summary of the
results of the seven most recent NI elections elsewhere and on a different page is a summary of NI election results since 1973.
|Ulster Independence (various)||1.4%|
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Nicholas Whyte, 11 May 2014
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