Constituency Profile: Jeffrey Donaldson retains his Lagan Valley seat for the DUP
JEFFREY Donaldson's landslide victory in Lagan Valley saw the DUP politician win 60 per cent of the vote to comfortably hold his Westminster seat.
As Northern Ireland's longest-serving MP, he said his party had been given "a resounding result" in his home constituency after he secured a record poll of nearly 27,000 votes.
There were scenes of jubilation as Mr Donaldson increased his vote by more than 7,000 from the 2015 general election in a constituency that saw a turnout of 62 per cent this time around, up six percentage points.
As a DUP safe seat and with Mr Donaldson regarded as one of the party's most high profile candidates, there was little change expected in the make-up of this mainly unionist constituency.
And in his victory speech, Mr Donaldson said that while "some were predicting doom and gloom" for the DUP, "the electorate has given (the party) a resounding result" in Lagan Valley.
He also spoke of his "great honour" to be returned as and MP with "my largest ever vote and my largest ever majority".
But he urged politicians to "work together" over the coming weeks to restore power-sharing in the north.
"We need to have a government in Northern Ireland, we need political stability, we need to have our voice and it is essential in these coming weeks that we find a way of restoring our government at Stormont and ensuring that Northern Ireland is properly represented in Brexit negotiations and in all the matters that affect us," he said.
"We must work together and I pledge on behalf of the Democratic Unionist Party in this constituency, my MLA and councillors colleagues that we will work with other parties in Lagan Valley and in Stormont to restore devolution, to get a properly functioning government and to ring political stability back to Northern Ireland."
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There was little surprise over Mr Donaldson's solid victory - Lagan Valley has returned a DUP or UUP candidate in every Westminster election since the seat was created in 1983.
The incumbent has comfortably held the seat for the DUP since 2005.
But there was disappointment for Ulster Unionist Party candidate and first-time Westminster challenger Robbie Butler, who fell a very distant second to Mr Donaldson. The former fire-fighter polled 7,533 votes.
The SDLP vote rose slightly, with candidate Pat Catney - fresh from his shock win at the recent Assembly election in March - increasing the party's vote from 6.3 per cent in 2015 to 7.6 per cent this year.
Alliance candidate Aaron McIntyre also saw his party’s performance dip, losing more than 500 votes from the last Westminster election, despite the larger turnout.