Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin’s John Finucane re-elected in North Belfast beating DUP’s Phillip Brett

The incumbent topped the polls with a comfortable lead of 5,612 votes

John Finucane retained his seat (Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye/Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye )

Sinn Féin’s John Finucane has secured a second term in North Belfast after defeating the DUP’s Phillip Brett with a comfortable margin.

Securing the only gain for his party in 2019, Finucane became the first nationalist to win the seat, defeating the DUP’s Nigel Dodds - who had held the seat for 18-years - with a majority of 1,943.

His vote share was up this time around, with 17,674 votes secured. Brett who ran Dodd’s unsuccessful Westminster campaign five years ago, failed to win back the seat for his party with only 12,062.

Although he faced no competition from the UUP, he did face pressure from the TUV.

Following a pact with Reform UK, the party ran in a total of 14 constituencies this year, leading to fears that this could have led to a fracturing of the unionist vote.

Their candidate David Clarke, a former DUP councillor who quit the party in January over allegations of bullying, secured 2,877 votes.

The DUP wasn’t aided by boundary changes which is estimated to have cost the party unionist votes, with areas like the Shankill and Woodvale moving to the west Belfast constituency.

Alliance’s Nuala McAllister also ran for a second time and secured 4,274 votes.

Both the SDLP and the Greens ran candidates this time.

Party leader Mal O’Hara, who lost his Belfast City Council seat in last year’s local election, represented the Greens, and secured 1,206.

Councillor Carl Whyte was on the ballot for the SDLP and secured 1,413.

Fiona Ferguson ran for People Before Profit after also losing her council seat last year and was able to secure 946 votes.