Constituency Profile: North Antrim

Ian Paisley Jnr is likely to hold out in the battle against TUV’s Jim Allister

The Giants Causeway has been partially closed
North Antrim is home to the Giant's Causeway.

North Antrim, which has been held by a Paisley since 1970, is the DUP’s longest held and most secure seat.

At the 2019 election, the party received its largest majority with 12,721 votes.

The incumbent, Ian Paisley Jr., was first elected in 2010, when his father stood down after holding the seat for 40 years.

In his 14 years as MP for North Antrim, Ian Paisley Jr. has come under fire over his parliamentary expenses and was the first MP to face a Recall Petition in 2018 over undeclared holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

However, his support remained strong as only 9.4% of the electorate here signed the petition to call a by-election to oust him, falling short of the 10% required.

The long-standing success of his party and family in this predominantly unionist seat makes him the favourite to be returned.

Amongst the seven other candidates running against him is TUV leader Jim Allister, who is standing here for the first time since 2010.

His consistent anti-protocol stance is likely to appeal to voters who have been upset by the DUP’s implementation of the Window Framework.

In addition to this, the constituency has long been where the TUV performs best.

Allister has been an MLA here since 2011 and is the party’s sole elected member in the assembly.

And on his last attempt to run for Westminster, he finished second to Paisley with 16.8% of the vote.

His campaign in this election, however, could be damaged somewhat by Nigel Farage’s ‘personal’ endorsement of Paisley, despite an electoral alliance between the TUV and Farage’s Reform UK.

Elsewhere, the Independent Tristan Morrow will be hoping to repeat the success of Robin Swann, who came second with 18.5% of the votes in 2019.

Alliance candidate Sian Mulholland will be aiming to build on her party’s growing electoral presence in the constituency.

In 2019, her party achieved their best result here, finishing in third place with 14.1% of the vote.

And at the 2022 assembly elections, her party managed to take the last seat ahead of DUP veteran Mervyn Storey thanks to transfers.

However, a Westminster election with no chance of transfers will make taking the seat here an unlikely outcome.

Nationalist parties tend to fare less well in North Antrim, given its predominantly unionist make-up.

At the last election, Sinn Féin and the SDLP finished in fourth and fifth places with 12.8% and 6.7% of the vote respectively.

The latest boundary changes are unlikely to make a large change to the nationalist vote in this area.

North Antrim
North Antrim