Constituency Profile: East Belfast returns DUP MP Gavin Robinson

Despite predictions of a strong challenge from Alliance Party's Naomi Long, the DUP's Gavin Robinson retained his seat in East Belfast.

In common with the contest in the north of the city, the DUP proved far too strong for the challenger and Gavin Robinson more than trebled his majority over the Alliance leader.

Widely billed as a two-horse race, Mrs Long will be hugely disappointed to have seen her campaign fizzle out and her share of the vote drop almost seven per cent as the DUP comfortably retained the seat.

After a closely fought election two years ago in which the DUP won a majority of just over 2,500, and an Assembly election in March which saw Mrs Long top the poll, Mr Robinson won the seat by a margin of almost 8,500 this time around.

A head-to-head clash with the DUP in this strongly unionist constituency was always going to be a tough task for Mrs Long, but she failed to attract the necessary votes from smaller parties to mount a proper challenge.

For a full list of results click here.

The former DUP East Belfast MP and party leader Peter Robinson, who lost the seat in a shock defeat to Ms Long in 2010, was at the count centre to see his namesake returned to Westminster.

In 2015 Gavin Robinson benefited from a unionist pact, with the Ulster Unionists standing aside.

However, so comfortable was the DUP victory that Hazel Legge's decision to stand for the Ulster Unionists, taking 1,408 votes, had no influence on Mr Robinson's win.

In keeping with trends across the rest of Northern Ireland, the DUP had got their vote out in very strong numbers in East Belfast, with a six per cent increase in its vote share.

Clearly taken aback by the margin of his victory, Mr Robinson said simply: "Wow, what a result."

In stark contrast to two years ago, when Mr Robinson was criticised for the tone of his victory speech, the DUP MP praised his opponents, stating that the election had been carried out "in the right spirit".

He also shook hands with the Alliance leader after the result was announced.

Mrs Long dedicated her result to east Belfast Alliance councillor Mervyn Jones, who died suddenly last week at the age of 66.

The Alliance leader described Mr Robinson's vote tally as "incredible" and added: "I hope and pray that he takes the responsibility on behalf of his constituents seriously, whether they voted for him or not."

The remaining five candidates all polled less than four figures, with Sinn Féin councillor Mairéad O'Donnell highest at 894 votes.

On a grim night generally for the SDLP, the party was outpolled in this constituency by the Conservatives.

Gavin Robinson DUP    23,917 votes  55.8  per cent
Naomi Long Alliance 15,443    36 per cent
Hazel Legge UUP    1,408     3.3  per cent
Mairéad O'Donnell  Sinn Féin    894  2.1 per cent
Georgina Milne Greens    561  1.3 per cent
Sheila Bodel Conservative   446  1 per cent
Séamas de Faoite SDLP   167   0.4 per cent
Bobby Beck Independent   54    0.1 per cent


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