Westminster election, 11 June 1987

Map by Conal Kelly

The 1987 election in England, Scotland and Wales saw the return for a third term of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration, with a lower majority than in 1983 but none the less a convincing mandate. It was the first parliamentary election in which I voted; I can reveal that my vote went to Shirley Williams, fighting her last election in Cambridge on behalf of the SDP/Liberal Alliance.

Back at home, politicians were still in shock at the consequences of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The Unionist parties maintained a common front, standing only one candidate in each constituency; this discipline was broken only by two unpleasant characters, Bob McCartney in North Down and George Seawright in North Belfast. (For more about McCartney, see my page on the 1995 North Down by-election; Seawright had been expelled from the DUP for suggesting the incineration of Catholics, and was assassinated later in 1987.) The consequences were not especially positive for the Unionists; they lost Enoch Powell's South Down seat to the SDLP - their third gain in three elections - and Alliance got its best result in years. Their failure to inspire the electorate to continued opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement probably helped the start of the Brooke-Mayhew talks a few years later. The only minor party to stand was the Ecology Party.

Election results, 1987

See spreadsheet archive.
UUP 276,230 votes 37.8% 10 MPs (North Belfast, South Belfast, East Antrim, South Antrim, Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Strangford, and Upper Bann)
SDLP 154,087 votes 21.1% 3 MPs (South Down, Foyle, and Newry and Armagh)
DUP 85,642 votes 11.7% 3 MPs (East Belfast, North Antrim, and Mid Ulster)
SF 83,389 votes 11.4% 1 MP (West Belfast)
Alliance 72,761 votes 10.0%

Workers Party 19,294 votes 2.6%

UPUP 18,420 votes 2.5% 1 MP (North Down)
Bob McCartney (Real Unionist) 14,467 votes 2.0%

George Seawright (Protestant Unionist) 2,147 votes 0.2%

Ecology Party 281 votes 0.04%

See also:

Results from 1996 to 2001 for each seat: East Belfast | North Belfast | South Belfast | West Belfast | East Antrim | North Antrim | South Antrim | North Down | South Down | Fermanagh and South Tyrone | Foyle | Lagan Valley | East Londonderry | Mid Ulster | Newry and Armagh | Strangford | Upper Bann

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, 4 November 2001; last updated 20 May 2003 by Tineke Vaes

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