Westminster Election 2015: South Down

The Results:


A straightforward win for Margaret Ritchie. Her Sinn Féin opponent, Chris Hazzard was hyped as a serious challenger but ultimately he was a well-beaten docket.

Less than one thousand votes seperated three unionist candidates and Harold McKee UUP (a new name to me) overtook Jim Wells DUP. The loudest voice in Norn Iron’s UKIP franchise had a very respectable vote.

The story of this constituency was the drama surrounding Jim Wells.

At one level, it is possible to have sympathy for a man who has a seriously ill wife. On another level, there can be no sympathy for remarks made that were widely perceived as homophobic. Wells attempted to excuse this on the grounds of personal stress.

Wells was the big loser. He went into the Election as Minister for Health. And had to resign as a consequence of his remarks.

And 2016? Well…my default position is that the sixth seat in most cobstituencies is the problematic seat and the ghost at the table is the non-appearance on the ballot paper of John McCallister MLA, now Independent but a founder of NI21. Possibly some of his liberal unionist vote went to Martyn Todd of Alliance.

South Down is a constituency…currently two SDLP, two Sinn Féin, one DUP and one Independent (McCallister). It looks like two SDLP quotas, two Sinn Féin quotas, one unionist……and…..the sixth seat will go to either another unionist (more likely) or SDLP (less likely).

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2 Responses to Westminster Election 2015: South Down

  1. tennis elbow says:

    Do you think there is any chance of McCallister getting in again as an independent? Could transfers from the SDLP’s 18k help him?

    • I think he really needed to stand last week to keep a profile. It looks like he intends to get out of politics and maybe just stand next year as a gesture.
      I have heard him speak at two different SDLP events, both times when he was UUP and on both occasions he half-jokingly appealed for transfers.
      On both occasions he was very dismissive of the Alliance Party.
      Transfers from SDLPs 18,000?
      Well the dynamic of the two Elections will be very different. And there might well have been some McCallister votes in that 18,000.
      The extent to which SDLP can attract cross-community votes is interesting and I want to look into that at some later stage.
      Is it “tactical” or has a bridge been crossed.
      Its reasonable to think that Margaret, Alasdair and Mark Durkan are good enough MPs and non sectarian and might pick up votes from all over.

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