Northern Ireland

Stephen Farry to keep a ‘keen interest’ in politics after losing Westminster seat

Alliance representative said he looks back at time as MP ‘with a lot of pride’

Stephen Farry at the election count in the Titanic Exhibition Centre. PICTURE: KELVIN BOYES (Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye/Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye )

Stephen Farry has said he remains committed to his “vision and values” and the “best future” for Northern Ireland following the loss of his Westminster seat.

The Alliance candidate was beaten in the race for North Down by independent unionist Alex Easton.

The former DUP MLA took the seat with 48.3% of the vote share, with Mr Farry seeing his total number of votes falling by over 4,700, and finishing with a share of 31.4%.

It was a “disappointing” night for the Alliance deputy leader, who said ahead of the result being declared “I look back on the last five years with a lot of pride”.

Mr Farry, who is now without a seat at Westminster or the assembly, said that he would keep a “very keen interest in politics”.

On Friday, he said in a short statement posted to social media: “I am very grateful to everyone across North Down who voted for me and the Alliance Party in this election. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it on this occasion. I congratulate Alex Easton on his success.

He added: “I remain committed to my vision and values and working for the best future for NI.”

Alliance will now be looking for a replacement in Lagan Valley for Sorcha Eastwood’s Stormont seat following her election to Westminster and it is not yet known if Mr Farry will be in the frame for co-option.

Mr Farry was an MLA for North Down between 2007 and 2019 when he was elected as an MP.

In his time at Stormont, he served as employment and learning minister between 2011 and 2016.

South Belfast Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl said on Friday she was “gutted” at Mr Farry’s loss, adding he was a “truly exemplary public servant”.