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Paisley storms to victory in North Antrim

Ian Paisley celebrates his victory in the North Antrim constituency count in Ballymena
Connla Young

The DUP's grip on North Antrim shows no sign of loosening after Ian Paisley junior retained the seat first won by his father 45 years ago.

Less than a year after the party founder's death, his son was easily returned to Westminster for the second time.

The contest was the first he had ever fought without his father, who served as First Minister between 2007 and 2008.

In traditional Paisley-style, the victor and his jubilant supporters sang the doxology in celebration after the count was declared.

A safe unionist seat, the only question was how much the DUP would win by.

Although his share was down by more than three per cent on 2010, Mr Paisley still managed to storm home with an 11,546 majority.

The 48-year-old easily topped the poll with more than 18,000 votes, leaving the TUV's Timothy Gaston in the distance with a return of 6,561.

As expected Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay came out on top in the green battle.

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan may be a little disappointed with his total of 2,925, an almost two per cent drop on the party's previous outing.

UUP assembly member Robin Swann was beaten into fourth place overall with just over 5,000 votes.

Mr Paisley called for a day of prayer tomorrow as exit polls indicated there would be no overall majority at Westminster.

"This is a significant result which puts the DUP centre-stage not only in Northern Ireland but nationally, and we will do what has to be done in the best interests for the people of the UK and Northern Ireland.

"People need to have leadership at this time and seek guidance and that's why it would be a good idea for church and political leaders to lead a national day of prayer this weekend."

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Name Party Vote Share +/-

Ian Paisley jnr DUP 18,107 43.2 -3.2

Timothy Gaston TUV 6,561 15.7 -1.1

Daithí McKay SF 5,143 12.3 -0.2

Robin Swann UUP 5,054 12.1 n/a

Declan O'Loan SDLP 2,925 7 -1.8

Jayne Dunlop Alliance 2,351 5.6 +2.4

Robert Hill UKIP 1,341 3.2 n/a

Carol Freeman Con 368 0.9 n/a

Thomas Palmer Ind 57 0.1 n/a

Majority: 11,546 Turnout: 57.81%

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