Gildernew holds seat for SF in FST; nationalists win majority of MPs


Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew has retained her Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat by a narrow margin of 57 votes following a recount.

A recount was requested by the unionist camp at 4am last night when it emerged that Ms Gildernew was edging ahead by around 63 votes.

The election had seen her again go head-to-head with Ulster Unionist candidate Tom Elliott after the DUP stood aside, allowing Mr Elliott to try and win back the seat he held from 2015 until 2017.

The border constituency and home of DUP leader Arlene Foster is where Bobby Sands was elected in 1981.

The declaration in Omagh marks a stunning success for nationalism in the election.

It means that the North has returned more declared nationalist MPs than declared unionist MPs at Westminster for the first time, a result which will have to be taken into account in future negotiations in Belfast, London and Brussels.

Speaking after her win, Ms Gildernew said the people of Ireland were ready for the challenges ahead.

“We have negotiations starting next week and we know there is a lot of work to be done here to make politics work. We won’t be found wanting in that respect as always and we will be ready to negotiate.

“This election was called because of Brexit, 59% of people in this constituency to remain, and unfortunately it looks like things are going to happen outside of our control that we can’t stop.

“The people of Ireland are ready to take on a new challenge.”

With just one seat left to be counted in the British general election, the result is a clear victory for the Conservatives currently on 364 seats. The Labour Party had a poor election, the party’s worst since 1935, taking just 203 seats. The Liberal Democrats have also had a bad night, with their leader Jo Swinson losing her seat.

Elsewhere, the Scottish National Party enjoyed a strong showing winning 48 seats, a gain of 13.

Full results and a breakdown by constituency will be carried in our regular weekly edition tomorrow.

Final results (Six Counties)

DUP 8 seats (-2) 30.6% (-5.4%)
SF 7 seats (-) 22.8% (-6.7%)
SDLP 2 seats (+2) 14.9% (+3.1%)
Alliance 1 seat (+1) 16.8% (+8.8%)
UUP 0 seats (-) 11.7% (+1.4%)
PBP 0 seat (-) 1.6% (+0.9%)
Aontú 0 seats (-) 1.2% (+1.2%)
Ind. U 0 seats (-1) 0% (-2.6%)

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