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Conservative candidate Roger Lomas believed to have secured one of the party's lowest ever votes in its history

Roger Lomas, the Conservative candidate for West Tyrone, secured just 27 first preference votes

A CONSERVATIVE candidate in the Assembly election is understood to have secured one of the lowest ever votes in any election in the party's history.

Roger Lomas, who contested West Tyrone, polled just 27 first preference votes on Thursday, down from 44 last May.

With his 27 votes, Mr Lomas earnt two unwanted distinctions; the lowest vote of any candidate in this year's Assembly election, and what is believed to be one of the worst performances by a Tory candidate in any election in the UK in the party's history.

Although elections in council wards are not comparable in terms of the number of votes cast, Mr Lomas' tally was, however, a better result than that of Alma McGing, a Tory candidate in the Vauxhall ward in elections to Liverpool City Council in 2003, who polled just 12 votes, while Shirley Bowes holds the record after securing no votes at all in an election to Sedgefield Borough Council in 2007.

Mrs Bowes was unable to even vote for herself as she did not live in the ward in which she stood.

Mr Lomas polled 14 fewer votes in the constituency than Susan Anne-White, an independent candidate and evangelical Christian who has called for gay people to be jailed.

His total was even lower than Paul Shea, a businessman from Newcastle upon Tyne in England who received just 34 first preference votes in West Belfast for the Tories in the Westminster election of 2015.

It was also below Gavan Aloysius Reynolds, who stood as an independent candidate in North Down this year, and picked up 31 votes.

In 2012, the NI Conservatives launched as a separate entity after the ill-fated three-year merger between the Tories and the Ulster Unionists broke down acrimoniously.

The Conservatives gained their first councillor in Northern Ireland in more than a decade when David Harding, the former Mayor of Coleraine, joined the party after leaving the UUP in 2015.

Mr Lomas, a member of the board of governors of the Integrated College in Dungannon, who is related by marriage to poet John Montague who died last year.

Mr Lomas seemed to see the funny side, uploading a photograph of a wooden spoon and adding: "Well, last out of 228 candidates, well like the the previous wooden spoon winners 'the only way is up'!"

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