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Constituency Profile: David Simpson (DUP) holds on to Upper Bann seat

DAVID Simpson said it was "plain to be seen" the support he had received from non-DUP voters as he romped to victory in Upper Bann.

He comfortably held his Westminster seat with a tally of 22,317 votes - almost 7,000 more than his 2015 result.

There had been fears among unionists that a split vote between the DUP and UUP would allow Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd to push for a surprise seat.

But the threat proved unfounded.

For a full list of results click here.

Regarded as one of the north's safest unionist seats, the Ulster Unionist Party saw their vote plummet in Upper Bann with candidate Doug Beattie securing only 7,900 votes, well down from Jo-Anne Dobson's 2015 total of 13,166.

Fresh from his Assembly success, winning the only UUP seat in Upper Bann, Mr Beattie had been touted as a potential future leader of the party and hopes were high he would cut into the DUP vote.

But it was clear from early on in the counting that he faced a tough challenge.

A clearly disappointed Mr Beattie told his supporters: "When you fail then it’s up to you to take responsibility, and therefore responsibility lies with me".

Earlier in the evening, he issued a warning to the Conservative Party about relying on the DUP.

"I would say, if they rely on the DUP they are relying on a party that won't allow same sex marriage," he said.

But in his victory speech, Mr Simpson said it was clear he had received votes from supporters of other parties and it would not be taken for granted.

"With the strength of the vote that we have received today we certainly have received votes from other parties," he said. 

"That will not be taken for granted and we thank them very much indeed for what they have done today.

Sinn Féin were buoyant in defeat, with its candidate John O'Dowd securing 14,325 votes - an increase on the 2015 total of 11,593.

Mr O'Dowd said he was delighted Sinn Féin was "now the second largest party in Upper Bann with a massive mandate for change" having elevated its support since the 2015 Westminster election.

He also promised there would be a lot of difficult talking over the next couple of weeks to try to restore the devolved institutions.

The SDLP candidate Declan McAlinden faced overwhelming odds to make much of a dent in unionist and Sinn Féin voting.

He secured almost 4,400 votes, a similar party performance as last time, while Alliance's Tar Doyle polled 2,319 votes.

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