Mid Ulster (UK Parliament constituency)
|Mid Ulster shown within Northern Ireland|
|Type:||House of Commons|
|Districts:||Cookstown, Magherafelt, Dungannon and South Tyrone|
|EP constituency:||Northern Ireland|
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 History
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Elections
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The constituency was created in 1950 when the old two-seat constituency of Fermanagh and Tyrone was abolished as part of the final move to single member seats. Originally the seat primarily consisted of the northern, eastern and western parts of County Tyrone, with the south included in Fermanagh & South Tyrone. Of the post 1973 districts, it contained all of Omagh and Cookstown and part of Strabane and Magherafelt.
In boundary changes proposed by a review in 1995, the seat was split in two, with the name retained by the eastern half, even though it contained only 30% of the old seat. The western half became the nucleus of the new West Tyrone constituency. The new Mid Ulster also gained areas from East Londonderry and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, taking it deeper into County Londonderry.
- The entire districts of Cookstown and Magherafelt
- From Dungannon and South Tyrone district; Altmore, Coalisland North, Coalisland South, Coalisland West and Newmills, Donaghmore and Washing Bay
For the history of the constituency prior to 1950, see Fermanagh and Tyrone.
In both its incarnations, Mid Ulster has seen a precarious balance between unionist and nationalist voters, though in recent years the nationalists have advanced significantly to be in a clear majority. Many elections have seen a candidate from one community triumph due to candidates from the other community splitting the vote.
The seat was initially won by the Irish Nationalist Party in 1950 and 1951 then by Sinn Féin in 1955. However the Sinn Féin Member of Parliament (MP) was unseated on petition on the basis that his Irish Republican Army (IRA) convictions made him ineligible, and in subsequent by-elections the seat was won by the Ulster Unionists.
In a by-election in 1969, the seat was won by Bernadette Devlin standing as an independent socialist nationalist on the "Unity" ticket which sought to unite nationalist voters behind a single candidate. At the age of 21, Devlin was the youngest person ever elected to the House of Commons in the era of universal suffrage. The by-election saw a 91.5% turnout, a record for any UK by-election.
Devlin held her seat in the 1970 general election but generated controversy when she had a child while still unmarried as well as for her fierce anti-clericalism. The Social Democratic and Labour Party stood a candidate against her in the February 1974 general election and the nationalist vote was strongly divided, allowing John Dunlop of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party to win with the support of the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.
Dunlop held his seat for the next nine years, though in 1975 he was part of a large section of Vanguard that broke away to form the short lived United Ulster Unionist Party. He held his seat in 1979 only due to a Unionist pact. He polled poorly in the 1982 Assembly election taking a dismal 2.8% of the vote. Consequently, in 1983 he did not stand again and the following year the UUUP was wound up.
The 1983 general election saw fierce contest for the seat, with the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin all polling strongly. The winner was the DUP's William McCrea, albeit by the narrow majority of just 78 over Sinn Féin's Danny Morrison. In general elections from then to 2005 the Ulster Unionists did not contest the seat.
Following the boundary changes, McCrea contested the new Mid Ulster in 1997 but by now Sinn Féin had established itself as the best party to outpoll a unionist and so drew votes from the SDLP, resulting in Martin McGuinness winning. He has held the seat to date. During the 2001 General Election, Mid-Ulster had the highest turnout in any constituency in the United Kingdom.
On 11 June 2012, McGuinness announced his intention to resign from the House of Commons to concentrate on his position as Deputy First Minister and avoid so-called 'double jobbing' by which members of the Northern Ireland Assembly also work as councillors or MPs. This necessitated a by-election. On 30 December 2012 Martin McGuinness formally announced he would resign his Westminster seat with immediate effect. Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy, won the resulting by-election in March 2013.
Members of Parliament
|1950||Anthony Mulvey||Independent Republican|
|1951||Michael O'Neill||Independent Republican|
|1955||Tom Mitchell||Sinn Féin||Disqualified by resolution of the House of Commons, 18 July 1955|
|1955 by-election||Tom Mitchell||Sinn Féin||Election declared undue on petition; Return amended, 25 October 1955|
|1956||Charles Beattie||Ulster Unionist||Declared duly elected on petition; disqualified by resolution of the House of Commons, 7 February 1956|
|1956 by-election||George Forrest||Independent Unionist|
|1957||Ulster Unionist||Died, 10 December 1968|
|1969 by-election||Bernadette Devlin||Unity, later Independent Socialist|
|1970||Independent Socialist||Became Independent Socialist in October 1970|
|Feb 1974||John Dunlop||Vanguard Progressive Unionist|
|1975||United Ulster Unionist||Left Vanguard and joined the United Ulster Unionist Party, 11 October 1975|
|1983||William McCrea||Democratic Unionist|
|1997||Martin McGuinness||Sinn Féin|
|2013 by-election||Francie Molloy||Sinn Féin|
Elections in the 2010s
|By-election 2013: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Francie Molloy||17,462||46.9||-5.1|
|Sinn Féin hold||Swing||-3.4|
|General Election 2010: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Martin McGuinness||21,239||52.0||+2.4|
|Sinn Féin hold||Swing||+5.8|
Elections in the 2000s
|General Election 2005: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Martin McGuinness||21,641||47.6||-3.5|
|Workers' Party||Francis Donnelly||345||0.8||-0.2|
|Sinn Féin hold||Swing||+2.1|
|General Election 2001: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Martin McGuinness||25,502||51.1||+11.0|
|Workers' Party||Francie Donnelly||509||1.0||+0.5|
|Sinn Féin hold||Swing|
Elections in the 1990s
|General Election 1997: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Martin McGuinness||20,294||40.1|
|Workers' Party||Marian Donnelly||238||0.5|
|Natural Law||Maureen Murray||61||0.1|
|Sinn Féin gain from DUP||Swing|
|1992 Notional Results: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Barry McElduff||11,340||24.4|
Between 1992 and 1996 there were significant boundary changes, creating the new seat of West Tyrone. This had a huge knock on effect on Mid Ulster, which lost all its areas in Omagh and Strabane district councils, and gained the Torrent LGD in Dungannon from Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and the parts of Magherafelt District Council previously in East Londonderry. Therefore the implied 1992 election results are very different from the actual ones and are displayed above.
|General Election 1992: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Barry McElduff||10,248||18.7|
|Labour and Trade Union||Harry Hutchinson||389||0.7|
|Workers' Party||Tommy Owens||285||0.5|
|Natural Law||James Anderson||164||0.3|
Elections in the 1980s
|General Election 1987: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Sean Begley||12,449||23.9|
|Workers' Party||Paddy Joe McLean||1,133||2.2|
|Mid Ulster by-election, 1986|
|Sinn Féin||Danny Morrisson||13,998||27.1|
|Workers' Party||Tommy Owens||691||1.4|
|General Election 1983: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Danny Morrison||16,096||29.9|
|Workers' Party||Tommy Owens||766||1.4|
|DUP gain from UUUP||Swing|
Elections in the 1970s
|General Election 1979: Mid Ulster|
|Irish Independence||Patrick Fahy||12,055||19.9|
|Republican Clubs||Francie Donnelly||1,414||2.2|
|UUUP gain from Vanguard||Swing|
|General Election October 1974: Mid Ulster|
|Republican Clubs||Francie Donnelly||8,091||12.5|
|General Election February 1974: Mid Ulster|
|Independent Socialist||Bernadette McAliskey||16,672||25.0|
|Pro-Assembly Unionist||Neville Thornton||4,633||7.0|
|Vanguard gain from Unity||Swing|
|General Election 1970: Mid Ulster|
|National Socialist||Phelim O'Neill||198||0.3|
Elections in the 1960s
|Mid Ulster by-election, 1969|
|UUP||Anna Forrest||29,437||46.7||– 5.6|
|Unity gain from UUP||Swing|
|General Election 1966: Mid Ulster|
|Independent Republican||Tom Mitchell||27,168||47.8|
|General Election 1964: Mid Ulster|
|Independent Republican||Tom Mitchell||22,810||39.6|
|Labour (NI)||Patrick McGarvey||5,053||8.8|
Elections in the 1950s
|General Election 1959: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Tom Mitchell||14,170||30.0|
|Mid Ulster by-election, 1956|
|Independent Unionist||George Forrest||28,605||48.36|
|Sinn Féin||Tom Mitchell||24,124||40.78|
|Independent Unionist gain from Sinn Féin||Swing|
|Mid Ulster by-election, 1955|
|Sinn Féin||Tom Mitchell||30,392|
|Sinn Féin hold||Swing|
The seat was awarded to Beattie on petition on the grounds that Mitchell's conviction as a felon made him ineligible to sit in Parliament. However, Beattie in turn was also found ineligible to sit due to holding an office of profit under the crown, triggering a further by-election.
|General Election 1955: Mid Ulster|
|Sinn Féin||Tom Mitchell||29,737||50.2|
|Sinn Féin gain from Independent Republican||Swing|
Mitchell was subsequently unseated upon petition, on the grounds that his terrorist convictions made him ineligible to sit in Parliament.
|General Election 1951: Mid Ulster|
|Independent Republican||Michael O'Neill||33,097||52.7|
|Independent Republican hold||Swing|
|General Election 1950: Mid Ulster|
|Independent Republican||Anthony Mulvey||33,023||52.6||N/A|
|Independent Republican win (new seat)|
- "The Parliamentary Constituencies (Northern Ireland) Order 2008". Opsi.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- McGuinness to inherit Adams' old British title under SF reorganisation Thejournal.ie
- MPs cannot formally resign. Rather, they can request to be formally appointed to an office of profit, thereby vacating the seat. Sinn Féin, however, reject elements of this process. The previous case of a Sinn Féin MP resigning was that of Gerry Adams, who simply resigned and Parliament operationalised his resignation by appointing him to an office of profit.
- F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918 – 1949
- F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1950 – 1970
- Guardian Unlimited Politics (Election results from 1992 to the present)
- http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/ (Election results from 1951 to the present)
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]