Sinn Féin becomes Northern Ireland’s largest Westminster party

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By Creative Media News

  • Sinn Féin leads in Northern Ireland councils
  • DUP suffers significant losses, down to five
  • Labour wins big, Starmer new Prime Minister

Sinn Féin is the largest party in Northern Ireland’s councils, assembly, and Westminster.

The nationalist party, which does not accept seats in the House of Commons, has seven seats following Thursday’s UK general election, the same as in 2019.

Its leader, Mary Lou McDonald, stated it was time to “prepare for a new future together on this island”.

Following a difficult night for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the party emerged victorious.

The DUP won eight seats in 2019 and will return with five in 2024.

Its most visible casualty in Thursday’s election was Ian Paisley, who lost the North Antrim seat his father had previously won in 1970.

In Lagan Valley, Sorcha Eastwood of the Alliance Party took the seat previously held by former DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson since 1997.

Robin Swann of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) defeated Paul Girvan of the DUP to win the South Antrim seat.

Sinn Féin saw a 4.2% rise in vote share compared to the general election five years ago.

The party welcomed new members like Dáire Hughes and Cathal Mallaghan.

Pat Cullen, a former Royal College of Nursing leader and a significant role in previous UK health strikes, was elected to represent Sinn Féin in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Mary Lou McDonald stated, “From day one, we will be knocking on the door of the British government, demanding that they stop their disgraceful underfunding of our public services and the executive here.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party secured a resounding win, and Sir Keir Starmer will become the new Prime Minister.

The Conservatives lost 250 seats, while the Liberal Democrats and Reform UK gained more.

Who was elected in Northern Ireland?

The first seismic outcome of the night occurred in Lagan Valley, where Sorcha Eastwood became the constituency’s first female and non-unionist MP.

She defeated Jonathan Buckley, the DUP’s candidate for the election in place of Sir Jeffrey, who has been charged with historical sex offences, which he denied.

Ms Eastwood expressed her joy with her victory, calling it a “huge achievement” for the party.

“I am a Lagan Valley girl born and raised,” she said.

Mr Buckley claimed “boundary changes” and “divided unionism” cost him the seat.

In a significant upset, the DUP’s Ian Paisley lost the North Antrim seat to Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister, who described the outcome as “seismic”.

The TUV, affiliated with Reform UK, had been harshly critical of the DUP’s agreement to return the party to power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) returned with two MPs: Colum Eastwood for Foyle and Claire Hanna for Belfast South and Mid Down.

‘Strategic planning’

Robin Swann’s victory in South Antrim means that the UUP has an MP for the first time since 2017.

He resigned as health minister during the campaign, which party leader Doug Beattie described as “strategic planning, and we planned well.

North Down saw a revival of an independent unionist voice in Westminster.

Alex Easton, a former DUP member, defeated Stephen Farry, the Alliance Party deputy leader.

Here’s who has been elected in Northern Ireland:

Cathal Mallaghan of Sinn Féin was elected as the first Northern Ireland MP, winning in Mid Ulster. DUP leader Gavin Robinson kept his seat in Belfast East despite a challenge from Alliance leader Naomi Long.

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Her colleague, Sorcha Eastwood, won in Lagan Valley, a seat long held by the DUP.

The DUP’s Carla Lockhart, Sammy Wilson, and Jim Shannon kept their seats in Upper Bann, East Antrim, and Strangford, respectively.

Gregory Campbell of the party also retained his East Londonderry seat, but it came after a close battle with Sinn Féin’s Kathleen McGurk.

Sinn Féin candidates Órfhlaith Begley in West Tyrone, Chris Hazzard in South Down, John Finucane in Belfast North, and Paul Maskey in Belfast West were all re-elected. Dáire Hughes also won for Sinn Féin in Newry and Armagh, replacing Mickey Brady, who chose not to run.

The former nurses union boss Pat Cullen held Fermanagh and South Tyrone for Sinn Féin.

Claire Hanna of the SDLP kept her seat in Belfast South and Mid Down, while party leader Colum Eastwood kept his in Foyle.

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