In 1958, McConnell was elected to Bangor Borough Council, serving until 1973. He was elected at the Northern Ireland general election, 1969, as an independent Unionist Member of Parliament for Bangor. Despite being an independent, he was a supporter of Ulster Unionist Party Prime Minister Terence O'Neill.
McConnell joined the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland alongside Phelim O'Neill and Tom Gormley in early 1972. He was elected to North Down Borough Council in 1973, and to the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Down. He held this seat on the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention in 1975, and served as the President of the Alliance Party in 1976.
McConnell stood down from his council seat in 1981 and took no further role in active politics.
- Biographies of Members of the Northern Ireland House of Commons
- The Local Government Elections 1973-1981: North Down
|Parliament of Northern Ireland|
|Member of Parliament for Bangor
1969 - 1972
Position prorogued 1972
Parliament abolished 1973