General Election

General Election Live - DUP says Tory pact will not extend beyond 'confidence and supply deal'

Digital staff
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster confirms her party has entered into discussions with the Conservatives
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is forming a new government with support of "friends and allies" in the DUP
  • DUP wins 10 seats, Sinn Féin 7 seats and independent unionist Sylvia Hermon one seat. Turnout across north was 65.6%. Full list of winners and losers here
  • SDLP has lost all three of the Westminster seats it held before this election
  • Conservative Party are the largest party but Britain has a hung parliament
  • Jeffrey Donaldson says the exit poll puts DUP in the 'perfect territory' - and they will negotiate with 'relish'
  • SNP suffer losses making second referendum on Scottish independence less likely in near future
  • Comparison of 2015 and 2017 General Election UK wide results here.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said the party has entered discussions with the Conservatives "to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation". 

British Prime Minister Theresa May met the Queen at lunchtime to seek permission to form a government and speaking outside 10 Downing Street afterwards Ms May said the new government would have the support of "friends and allies" in the DUP.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said the arrangement between the DUP and Conservatives would not extend beyond a confidence and supply deal.

According to the Guardian newspaper the DUP’s ‘price’will include a promise that there would be no post-Brexit special status for Northern Ireland. The DUP fears that such status after Brexit would push Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said only this morning that it was too early to say if her party would play any role in supporting a Conservative government.

"I certainly think that there will be contact made over the weekend but I think it is too soon to talk about what we're going to do."

Asked if she thought Mrs May would be able to remain as Prime Minister, the DUP leader replied: "I don't know", adding: "I think it will be difficult for her to survive".

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The DUP and Sinn Féin have made significant General Election gains in the north at the expense of the UUP and SDLP.

With the SDLP having lost all three seats, the UUP shedding both of its two and the Alliance party failing to make the inroads it predicted, the two main parties have solidified their pre-eminence.

Sinn Féin recorded a seismic political shock by taking the SDLP's prized seat in Foyle and also captured the nationalist party's South Down stronghold.

The SDLP's Margaret Ritchie pictured with supporters after failing to get elected. Picture: Mal McCann 

The DUP replaced the SDLP in South Belfast, wrested back South Antrim from the UUP and saw off the challenge of the Alliance Party and Sinn Féin in East and North Belfast respectively.

Who are the DUP?

The DUP was the most searched-for political party after exit polls suggested a hung parliament. 

Google Trends data at 1am showed that in the previous hour of searches for political parties in the UK, 29 per cent were for the DUP, 21 per cent for the Labour Party and 12 per cent for the Conservative Party.

The DUP website this morning appeared to be struggling with the amount of traffic trying to access it.  

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams made clear there was "no danger whatsoever" of his party ditching its abstentionist policy, even if its seats become crucial in the final shake-down.

Mr Adams also said he could not see British Prime Minister Theresa May surviving in her post.

Alasdair McDonnell lost his seat in South Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell 

"There is no danger whatsoever of us taking our seats in the Westminster parliament," he said.

He credited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with fighting a good campaign despite "media bias".

"I don't know how Theresa May can survive this - that's a matter for her party, of course," he said.

As counting in Northern Ireland concluded shortly after 4.30am, the SDLP and UUP were both left licking their political wounds after losing all of their Westminster representatives.

DUP leader Arlene Foster hugs new South Belfast MP Emma Little Pengelly as former leader Peter Robinson looks on. Picture: Hugh Russell 

The final results will see the DUP return to the House of Commons with 10 MPs, including new faces Emma Little Pengelly and Paul Girvan.

Sinn Féin has also enjoyed an increased mandate, winning seven seats, while Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon was also returned - albeit with a significantly smaller majority.

  • DUP 10 seats, Sinn Féin 7 and independent unionist Sylvia Hermon 1 seat.
  • Turnout in the north was 65.6% compared to 58.45% in 2015. That was compared to 69% across the UK.
  • Fermanagh and South Tyrone boasted the biggest turnout in Northern Ireland with 76.08% voting. 

Sinn Féin's Chris Hazzard is elected in South Down. Picture: Mal McCann 

Latest Updates

Taoiseach elect Leo Varadkar says the election result is an opportunity for the Republic.

Leo Varadkar, who is due to be formally voted in as Taoiseach next week, claimed Theresa May's failure to get a majority showed there is no strong support for a hard Brexit.

"The Irish Government is ready to participate in negotiations on Brexit and to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland," he said.

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Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has lost his seat in one of the most high-profile defeats of the night.

The ex-Liberal Democrat leader lost to Labour rival Jared O'Mara, who took Sheffield Hallam with 21,881 votes to Mr Clegg's 19,756.

A sombre-looking Mr Clegg said he had "never shirked from the political battlefield" and warned of the "agonising" future ahead for the next government that seeks to unite a divided country.

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Former first minister Alex Salmond has lost his seat to the Conservatives.

The SNP lynchpin and ex-party leader was defeated by Colin Clark in Gordon.

Mr Salmond, the SNP's foreign affairs spokesman, had swept to power in the seat with a 8,687 majority in 2015, overturning decades of Liberal Democrat rule.

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Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew has won back the Westminster seat that she lost to the UUP's Tom Elliott two years ago.

Mrs Gildernew was declared Fermanagh & South Tyrone's new MP after picking up 25,230 votes.

76.08 per cent of people turned out to vote in the rural constituency with 53,714 votes polled.

Mrs Gildernew's goal was to take back the historic seat once held by IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Mr Elliott received 24,355 votes in the second election of the year while SDLP's Mary Garrity picked up 2587 votes, Tanya Jones of the Green Party received 423 votes and Alliance's Noreen Campbell received 886 votes.

 

 

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Sinn Féin's sitting MP for Newry and Armagh, Mickey Brady, stormed to victory in the Westminster election once again with a final vote that was more than 10,000 ahead of any other candidate.

He amassed 25,666 votes, adding more than 5,000 to his 2015 tally of 20,488.

Mr Brady said it had been a great night for Sinn Féin, adding: "Our mandate shows that abstentionism is not an issue. People want politics to be dealt with here."

He said he goes to Westminster to lobby but spends time with his constituents at home.

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Barry McElduff and Francie Molloy elected for Sinn Féin...

Sinn Féin's Barry McElduff has secured the Westminster seat formerly held by party veteran Pat Doherty in a stunning victory in West Tyrone.

Mr McElduff told supporters that his party's momentum is building as he received 22,060 votes and was the undisputed winner in the largely nationalist area of rural Northern Ireland.

"Our message is this: no Brexit, don't be taking us out of the European Union against our will, don't be doing it. We will not accept any borders in Ireland," he told Omagh Leisure Centre.

The Stormont MLA benefited from West Tyrone's high nationalist turnout (68.23%) with 43,675 people going to the polls.

Like other Sinn Féin candidates, Mr McElduff contested the election on an anti-Brexit ticket, pledging to seek a special status for Northern Ireland when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

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Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy, who won his Mid Ulster seat for a third time, called on his supporters to remember the former deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, who died earlier this year.

During his acceptance speech Mr Molloy said: "I would like to thank the people of Mid Ulster for renewing the mandate that we have here. A mandate gained by Martin McGuinness 20 years ago and we remember him tonight."

Mr Molloy first won the MP seat in a by-election in 2013, after Mr McGuinness stood down.

Mr Molloy (66) was a clear winner on the night, polling nearly 13,000 more than his closest rival, DUP candidate Keith Buchanan.

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David Simpson elected comfortably ahead of rivals in Upper Bann despite a tight vote being predicted.

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SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell unseated in South Belfast by the DUP's Emma Little Pengelly, meaning the SDLP has now lost all three of the seats it held at Westminster.

Emma Little Pengelly hailed her long time mentor Peter Robinson for helping mastermind her victory.

The former DUP leader and Stormont first minister came out of political retirement to manage his one-time special adviser's Westminster campaign.

As Mr Robinson looked on, amid a crowd of DUP supporters cheering the capture of a seat long held by the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell, Mrs Little Pengelly paid tribute.

"I know Peter has come out of retirement to help and support me in this campaign and he has been absolutely invaluable," she said.

"I think many people have referenced that he was looking very relaxed and I hope he does not look a bit more stressed than he was six weeks ago.

"I want to thank him absolutely for doing that for me and I know everybody in our team appreciates that as well."

Months after narrowly losing out on securing an Assembly seat in the constituency, Mrs Little Pengelly was overjoyed to revive her political career with a 2,000-vote win over Mr McDonnell.

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SDLP loses second set of the night, this time to Sinn Féin's Chris Hazzard in South Down.

 

Sinn Féin has dramatically seized the long-time SDLP stronghold of South Down.

Chris Hazzard has become the republican party's first MP in the area with 20,328 votes.

Mr Hazzard beat the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie - who had held the seat from 2010 - by more than 2,000 votes.

In his victory speech, Mr Hazzard said Sinn Féin "will fight Brexit and Tory austerity".

Ms Ritchie - who easily beat Mr Hazzard in the 2015 general election - said Brexit had changed the political landscape but insisted she was "going to live and fight another day".

"I can hold my head high here tonight because of the level of service and representation provided by me and the SDLP over the last number of years.

"I am not going away. I am going to live and fight another day. The people of South Down also want service and representation. They want that delivered here in the constituency and also in parliament," Ms Ritchie said.

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Nigel Dodds sees off challenge from Sinn Féin's John Finucane in North Belfast

The DUP's Nigel Dodds hailed his fifth consecutive victory as a win for democracy and representation.

Speaking to the enthused union flag-waving crowd at Belfast's Titanic Exhibition Centre, the veteran politician said: "This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for representation and it is a victory which represents the largest DUP vote in the last 20 years.

"The DUP, in this election in north Belfast, has made history and there's more to come. This election was fought in the face of terrible terrorist atrocities across the UK and in this next parliament the DUP will play a very important role in terms of the great challenges that this country faces."

He polled 21,240 votes.

As the results were read out, a smiling Mr Dodds clutched his MEP wife Diane Dodds before turning to give the thumbs up to the scores of supporters including party leader Arlene Foster and his two new Westminster colleagues Gavin Robinson and Emma Little Pengelly.

Sinn Féin's John Finucane, who received 19,159 votes, expressed pride in his first electoral campaign.

Mr Finucane, who saw his solicitor father Pat Finucane shot dead by loyalists in 1989, said: "I am exceptionally proud to have returned the biggest mandate any republican has ever returned in north Belfast."

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The DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr said he has seen "unionism awakening" after a comfortable victory in North Antrim.

The returning MP polled more than 28,000 votes, nearly 20,000 more than his nearest rival, Sinn Fein's Cara McShane.

In his acceptance speech in Ballymena counting centre, Mr Paisley said the victory reinforced Brexit in Northern Ireland and the DUP would be looking to make its voice heard at Westminster.

"We will be a voice that speaks for all people and we will get the very best deal for the people in Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations," he said.

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The DUP's Gavin Robinson defied the pundits to retain his East Belfast seat in emphatic fashion.

The former Belfast mayor held off the challenge of the former MP for the area, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long.

Mrs Long had been tipped by the bookies to regain the seat she wrested off former DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2010 - primarily because the DUP had failed to sustain the electoral pact it struck with the Ulster Unionists in 2015.

But despite a UUP candidate in the field, Mr Robinson romped home with almost 24,000 seats and a majority of around 8,500.

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The DUP's Sammy Wilson comfortably retained his Westminster seat with 57.3% of the vote.

The former Stormont finance minister, who has held the East Antrim seat since 2005, increased his share of the vote by 21.2%.

His nearest competitor was the Alliance Party's Stewart Dickson who managed 15.6%.

Ulster Unionist John Stewart, who bagged the party a rare second seat in the 2017 Assembly elections, was hoping to reclaim the seat the UUP had held from 1983 until the 2005 DUP upset.

The Ulster Unionist vote was down 7% at 11.9%, not helped by the fact that Roy Beggs Jr declined a second attempt to win back the Westminster seat his father once held.

Turnout was 60.83%

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Elisha McCallion wins Foyle for Sinn Féin by 169 votes, unseating the SDLP's Mark Durkan in the election's biggest shock in the north so far.

 

Sinn Féin pulled off a sensational scalp by defeating the SDLP in its heartland.

Amid scenes of disbelief at the Foyle count centre, Elisha McCallion - herself shaking with adrenaline - beat outgoing MP Mark Durkan by a slim 169 votes.

It was a historic and ground-breaking performance in what was the SDLP's safest seat and it invovled a recount.

The nationalist party had held the constituency since it was created in 1983, for many years under its former leader John Hume, a revered figure in Derry.

Three of its six leaders - including current leader Colum Eastwood - are from the city.

An emotional Mr Durkan, himself a former party leader, apologised to SDLP founder Mr Hume "if any shortcomings on my part have led us to any sense of a dent in the truth for which he endeavoured".

"I take any responsibility I have for this result," he said.

Sinn Féin chief Martin McGuinness's widow Bernie travelled to join in the celebrations, along with his successor as the party's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill.

Ms McCallion (35) a popular former mayor of Derry, claimed during the campaign to be a new voice for a new era.

On taking her seat, she said: "There's partying to be done."

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Sinn Féin's Paul Maskey elected in West Belfast with increased majority.

 

In an unsurprising victory, Mr Maskey romped over the line to retain Belfast West for Sinn Féin.

The republican heartland has been a party stronghold since Gerry Adams was first elected in the early eighties, and few would have bet against another emphatic triumph.

Mr Maskey, a veteran politician, who has held the mantle since Mr Adams' departure to the Dail six years ago, polled a record 27,107 votes.

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Gregory Campbell retains seat in East Derry

 

DUP veteran Gregory Campbell has coasted to victory, taking nearly half the votes in East Derry.

There was never any fear of him losing the seat he has held since taking it from unionist rivals the UUP 16 years ago.

He managed to stretch his lead even further, adding almost 5,000 votes since the last general election, as the UUP share slid further.

Mr Campbell's outspoken views play well in the hinterland, which takes in Coleraine and Limavady, a predominantly unionist constituency.

 

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Forget results for a second. Here is a close-up pic of the socks Gerry Adams was wearing last night:

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Jeffrey Donaldson elected in Lagan Valley with largest ever majority, seeing his vote share increase by more than 8,000 compared to 2015.

 

Mr Donaldson secured 26,762 votes while his nearest competitor, Ulster Unionist Robbie Butler, received 7,533 votes.

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.

"We are the only party in Northern Ireland who wants to secure the best possible outcome of Brexit. Whatever the result nationally, the DUP will be there in Westminster making the case for Northern Ireland."

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Jim Shannon holds seat in Strangford and sees his vote increase since last election.

 

The DUP veteran celebrated his phenomenal majority in Strangford by saying it was time to consider all unionists standing under the one banner.

With a margin of victory of close to 20,000 votes, the former soldier said: "I think the people of Strangford would like to see one unionist party.

"Maybe it's just time that we looked towards how we could make that happen.

"Where unionism could be served better by one party representing them all.

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George Osborne, the former British chancellor, says he is getting messages from his friends in the Conservatives that they are "struggling" in southern towns, such as Milton Keynes and Reading.

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Lady Sylvia Hermon is elected in North Down but the DUP's Alex Easton cuts her majority from over 9,000 in 2015 to 1,208 votes.

Lady Hermon was visibly emotional over the huge swing to the Democratic Unionists in her own constituency which shattered her massive 9,000 plus majority from the 2015 election.

She won the seat by only 1,208 votes from the DUP's Alex Easton.

Lady Hermon used her victory speech to urge DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin northern leader Michelle O'Neill to reach a compromise on getting the Stormont Assembly back up and running.

She claimed Mrs May was ill-advised by insiders in No 10 into calling an "unnecessary election".

She added: "There was also the other factor ... this anxiety about a border poll, that every vote that is not a vote for the DUP will count against the unionist community.

"That is absolute nonsense and rubbish but I heard that repeatedly on the doorsteps."

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The DUP could be poised to exert significant influence at Westminster if a hung parliament is returned, a senior party figure has said.

Jeffrey Donaldson's comments came as Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams made clear there was "no danger whatsoever" of his party ditching its abstentionist policy, even if its seats become crucial in the final shake-down.

Mr Adams also said he could not see British Prime Minister Theresa May surviving in her post.

"In a hung parliament scenario, assuming Conservatives are the largest party, of course we will talk to them about their desire to form a government.

"We are not going to make a prediction or set out in advance what our negotiating position will be because we don't know at this stage what the scenario is."

Mr Adams dismissed his rival's remarks.

"Jeffrey always plays up their role," he said.

The senior republican added: "There is no danger whatsoever of us taking our seats in the Westminster parliament."

He credited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with fighting a good campaign despite "media bias".

"I don't know how Theresa May can survive this - that's a matter for her party, of course," he said.

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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams tells BBC the party's MPs "will not be taking their seats" regardless of the end result of today's General Election

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Possibilities of hung parliament examined on Reddit:

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South Antrim incumbent MP Danny Kinahan of the UUP said his constituency is a UUP/ DUP battle and is going to be a "very, very close call"

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Newcastle Central beat Sunderland to become the first seat in Britain  to declare at 11pm with Labour candidate Chi Onwurah winning

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The Conservatives are set to be the largest party but without an overall majority according a joint BBC/Sky/ITV exit poll, which indicated the Tories will win 314 seats and Labour 266

A Labour source said if the poll was correct it would represent the largest increase in a party's popularity during an election campaign "by miles".

But the source said it was "too early" to consider talking to other parties about the prospect of forming a government.

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Voter turnout has been reportedly steady through General Election day despite inclement weather sweeping large parts of the north.

As polls closed at 10pm, voters were continuing to brave the rain to cast their ballots.The poor conditions have placed a question mark over whether the relatively high turnout of 64.8% in March's Assembly election will be replicated.

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Tensions must be running high at this polling station in the UK...

Meanwhile, voters in Lisburn did a double take when a bride strolled into a polling station to cast her vote.

Alliance candidate for West Belfast Sorcha Eastwood married Dale Shirlow earlier today and then hot footed it to the polling station before their wedding celebrations got underway.

As people up and down Northern Ireland cast their vote in the General Election, there are many, many patient pups waiting outside polling stations – much to the joy of Twitter.

It’s one of the most eagerly awaited trends to appear on polling day – voters posting pictures of their dogs with the hashtag #dogsatpollingstations.

A voter's dog cocks its leg against the doorway of a polling station in The Abbey Centre on Great Smith Street, London, as people cast their votes in the General Election. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

Here are a few more of the very good dogs who’ve helped their human carry out their democratic duty.

Meanwhile, one candidate interrupted her wedding day to vote. Alliance's west Belfast candidate Sorcha Eastwood made the two-minute trip from St Patrick's Church in Lisburn to Brownlee Primary School to cast her ballot. Picture to follow. 

Not only did Theresa May threaten to ruin her big day by calling the General Election on her wedding day but the 31-year-old also tweeted yesterday that she had been recovering from a bad dog bite. 

STORM CLOUDS

Voter turnout across Northern Ireland has been reportedly steady through General Election day despite inclement weather sweeping large parts of the region.

With two hours to go before the polls close, voters were continuing to brave the rain to cast their ballots.The poor conditions have placed a question mark over whether the relatively high turnout of 64.8% in March's Assembly election will be replicated.

A bit of wet weather wasn't, however, enough to put off party leaders.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster voted near her home in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, while Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill marked her ballot paper close to her home village of Clonoe in Co Tyrone.

Outside the polling station, Mrs O'Neill said she was confident Sinn Fein could build on the momentum of its successful Assembly election in March.

"This is a chance for the electorate to come out and take a stand against Tory cuts and Brexit," she said.

"The public are angry. They want to come out and take a stand."

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann voted in Kells, Co Antrim, with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Alliance leader Naomi Long due to vote later on Thursday in Londonderry and Belfast respectively.

It is the fourth time in little over a year that voters across the north have gone to the polls .

The past 13 months have been a particularly busy time politically, with today's general election coming on the heels of two Stormont polls and last June's EU referendum.

The north's 619 polling stations will all open at 7 am and close at 10pm. Any voter who arrives at a station before 10pm but is waiting in a queue will be permitted to vote.

Arlene Foster, DUP leader, arrives at Brookeborough Primary School, Co Fermanagh, to cast her vote in the 2017 General Election. Picture by Brian Lawless, PA

Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill arrives at a polling station at St Patrick's primary school in Annaghmore, Clonoe to cast her vote in the General Election. Picture from Press Association

Wet and eerily quiet. Stranmillis Primary School polling station this morning. 

Polling day gallery: Political leaders brave the rain to vote

In a Westminster election, you vote for a single candidate by placing an 'X' beside their name. If there is any other mark made on the ballot paper it may not be counted.

For a complete list of candidates standing in the general election on Thursday click here  

The first results from Northern Ireland are expected between midnight and 1am.

Advertisement Free Ian Knox cartoon with our election special

 

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Election Results

Constituency Elected Turnout (%) Votes
Belfast North Nigel Dodds DUP 68 21,240
Belfast East Gavin Robinson DUP 68 23,978
Belfast South Emma Little Pengelly DUP 66 13,299
Belfast West Paul Maskey Sinn Fein 65 27,107
East Derry Gregory Campbell DUP 62 19,723
Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson DUP 62 26,762
East Antrim Sammy Wilson DUP 61 21,873
Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew Sinn Fein 76 25,230
Foyle Elisha McCallion Sinn Fein 66 18,256
Mid Ulster Francie Molloy Sinn Fein 69 25,455
Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady Sinn Fein 69 25,666
North Antrim Ian Paisley DUP 64 28,521
South Antrim Paul Girvan DUP 63 16,508
North Down Sylvia Hermon Independent 61 16,148
South Down Chris Hazzard Sinn Fein 67 20,328
Strangford Jim Shannon DUP 60 24,036
Upper Bann David Simpson DUP 64 22,617
West Tyrone Barry McElduff Sinn Fein 68 22,060

 

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