North Antrim (UK Parliament constituency)

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For other constituencies of the same name, see North Antrim.

Coordinates: 55°07′16″N 6°19′44″W / 55.121°N 6.329°W / 55.121; -6.329

North Antrim
County constituency
NorthAntrimConstituency.svg
North Antrim shown within Northern Ireland
Created: 1885, 1950
MP: Ian Paisley, Jr.
Party: Democratic Unionist
Type: House of Commons
Districts: Ballymena, Ballymoney, Moyle
EP constituency: Northern Ireland

North Antrim is a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons. Its current member is Ian Paisley Jr.

Boundaries[edit]

1950-1974: The boroughs of Ballymena and Larne; the urban districts of Ballycastle, Ballymoney, and Portrush; the rural districts of Ballycastle, Ballymena, and Ballymoney; and the electoral divisions of Ardclinis, Ballycor, Carncastle, Glenarm North, Glenarm South, Glencoy, and Kilwaughter in the rural district of Larne.

1974-1983: The boroughs of Ballymena, Carrickfergus, and Larne; the urban districts of Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Portrush, and Whitehead; the rural districts of Ballycastle, Ballymena, and Ballymoney; and the district electoral divisions of Ardclinis, Ballycor, Carncastle, Eden, Glenarm North, Glenarm South, Glencoy, Glynn, Islandmagee North, Islandmagee South, Kilwaughter, Middle Division, Raloo, and Templecorran in the rural district of Larne.

1983-2010: The District of Ballymena; the District of Ballymoney; and the District of Moyle.

2010-present: The District of Ballymena; the District of Ballymoney; and the District of Moyle wards of Armoy, Ballylough, Bushmills, Bonamargy and Rathlin, Carnmoon, Dalriada, Dunseverick, Glenshesk, Glentaisie, Kinbane, Knocklayd, Moss-Side, and Moyarget.

North Antrim has always been a county constituency comprising the northern part of County Antrim in the north-east of Northern Ireland. It has the sea to the north and east and parts of the border with County Londonderry to the west – the County Antrim town of Portrush is included in the East Londonderry constituency.

North Antrim constituency, 1885 – 1922

From 1885, this constituency was one of four county divisions carved out of the former constituency of Antrim. It comprised the baronies of Cary, Dunluce Lower, Dunluce Upper and Kilconway and returned one Member of Parliament from 1885 until 1922, when it was merged into a new Antrim constituency.

North Antrim was re-created in 1950 when the old Antrim two MP constituency was abolished as part of the final move to single member seats.

The constituency is largely rural. Amongst the features within its boundaries are Rathlin Island and Giant's Causeway.

The Boundary Commission initially proposed alterations for the boundaries of North Antrim prior to the 2010 general election. It was proposed to transfer Ballycastle and the Glens, including Rathlin Island, in Moyle to East Antrim and rename that seat Antrim Coast & Glens. However that proposal raised many questions, with some arguing that the Glens have no natural ties to Jordanstown. Following consultation and revision, the constituency alterations were passed through the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Constituencies Order.

History[edit]

North Antrim is an overwhelmingly unionist seat. It first existed from 1885 to 1922. From 1886 to 1974 the Conservative and Unionist members of the United Kingdom House of Commons formed a single Parliamentary party.

Unusually for Ireland, the Liberal Party retained significant strength in this constituency after the split over Home Rule in 1886. The Irish Parliamentary Party never contested the seat.

In 1906 the constituency was won by a Russellite Unionist, at least somewhat linked to the Liberal Party. Although the Unionists regained the seat when the sitting MP retired, the constituency was one of very few Unionist/Liberal marginals in Ireland at both 1910 elections.

A victory for the Unionist candidate in 1918 by 9,621 votes to Sinn Féin's 2,673 votes demonstrated the strength of the unionist support in the area.

In 1922, the constituency reverted to being part of the two member Antrim seat (as it had been before 1885). North Antrim was re-created in 1950 as a larger seat than it had been in its first incarnation. County Antrim, excluding the parts in the Belfast constituencies, was split into two divisions instead of four as previously. The 1950 North Antrim was comparable to the North and Mid Antrim divisions which had existed from 1885 to 1922.

Since 1950 the Westminster elections have been relatively uncompetitive. In 1951, it was one of the last four seats to be uncontested in a UK general election. More recently, one man repeatedly won by a large majority: the Reverend Ian Paisley was first elected as a Protestant Unionist Party candidate in the 1970 general election. The following year that party changed to the Democratic Unionist Party and Paisley held the seat for 40 years until his retirement in 2010. This is the longest continuous period for which the current holding party has held any Northern Irish seat. In elections at all levels, the DUP have frequently had their highest share of the vote in North Antrim and have rarely been seriously challenged.

In March 2010 Ian Paisley announced that he would step down at the 2010 general election. His son Ian Paisley, Jr. was selected by the DUP to replace him as candidate.[1] Former DUP MEP Jim Allister announced that he would contest the constituency for the Traditional Unionist Voice.[2]

According to straw polls, the constituency was alone in Northern Ireland in voting against the Belfast Agreement.[citation needed]

Members of Parliament[edit]

The Member of Parliament since the 2010 general election is Ian Paisley, Jr. of the Democratic Unionist Party. He succeeded his father, the Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley, who was initially elected in the 1970 general election as a member of the Protestant Unionist Party but since 1971 has sat for the Democratic Unionist Party.

North Antrim has had comparatively few MPs in its lifetime compared to other parliamentary constituencies. Sir Hugh O'Neill had sat for one of the predecessor seats of Mid Antrim between 1915 and 1922 and Antrim between 1922 until 1950, making this one of the few seats where four individuals between them represented the seat continuously over a period of ninety years.

MPs 1885–1922[edit]

Election Member Party Notes
1885 Edward Macnaghten Conservative appointed in 1887 as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and created a Law life peer as Lord Macnaghten
1886 Unionist
1887 by-election Sir Charles Edward Lewis Bt Unionist
1892 Charles Cunningham Connor Unionist
1895 Colonel Hugh McCalmont Unionist resigned
1899 by-election William Moore Unionist
1906 Robert Graham Glendinning Russellite Unionist
1910 (Jan) Peter Kerr Kerr-Smiley Unionist
1922 Constituency abolished. See Antrim

MPs since 1950[edit]

Election Member Party Notes
1950 Sir Hugh O'Neill Ulster Unionist resigned his seat in 1952. Ennobled in 1953 as 1st Baron Rathcavan
1953 by-election Phelim O'Neill Ulster Unionist Northern Ireland government minister 1969–1971. Joined the Alliance Party in 1972
1959 Henry Maitland Clark Ulster Unionist
1970 Ian Paisley Protestant Unionist Founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, later First Minister (2007–2008)
1971 Democratic Unionist
2010 Ian Paisley, Jr. Democratic Unionist

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2010: North Antrim[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley Jr 19,672 46.4 -10.4
TUV Jim Allister 7,114 16.8 N/A
Sinn Féin Daithí McKay 5,265 12.4 -1.8
UCU-NF Irwin Armstrong 4,634 10.9 -4.1
SDLP Declan O'Loan 3,738 8.8 -2.2
Alliance Jayne Dunlop 1,368 3.2 +0.2
No label Lyle Cubitt 606 1.4 N/A
Majority 12,558 29.6
Turnout 42,397 57.8 -7.3
DUP hold Swing 0.0

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 25,156 54.8 +4.9
Sinn Féin Philip McGuigan 7,191 15.7 +5.9
UUP Rodney McCune 6,637 14.5 -6.5
SDLP Sean Farren 5,585 12.2 -4.6
Alliance Jayne Dunlop 1,357 3.0 +0.4
Majority 17,965 39.1
Turnout 45,926 61.7 -4.4
DUP hold Swing
General Election 2001: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 24,539 49.9 +3.3
UUP Lexie Scott 10,315 21.0 -2.7
SDLP Sean Farren 8,283 16.8 +1.0
Sinn Féin John Kelly 4,822 9.8 +3.5
Alliance Jayne Dunlop 1,258 2.6 -3.6
Majority 14,224 28.9
Turnout 49,217 66.1 +2.3
DUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 21,495 46.5 -4.4
UUP James Leslie 10,921 23.6 +5.5
SDLP Sean Farren 7,333 15.9 +1.6
Sinn Féin James McGarry 2,896 6.3 +2.1
Alliance David Alderdice 2,845 6.2 -1.4
NI Women's Coalition Bronagh Hinds 580 1.3 N/A
Natural Law John Wright 116 0.3 N/A
Majority 10,574 32.8
Turnout 46,186 63.8 -2.0
DUP hold Swing
General Election 1992: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 23,152 50.9 -17.8
UUP Joe Gaston 8,216 18.1 N/A
SDLP Sean Farren 6,512 14.3 -1.8
Alliance John Gareth Williams 3,442 7.6 -4.8
Conservative Richard Sowler 2,263 5.0 N/A
Sinn Féin James Kevin McGarry 1,916 4.2 -2.2
Majority 14,936 23.0
Turnout 45,501 65.8 +9.5
DUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 28,283 68.7
SDLP Sean Farren 5,149 12.5
Alliance John Gareth Williams 5,140 12.4
Sinn Féin Sean Reagan 2,633 6.4
Majority 23,234 56.3
Turnout 41,205 62.8
DUP hold Swing
North Antrim by-election, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 33,937 97.4 +43.2
"For the Anglo-Irish Agreement" "Peter Barry" 515 2.6 N/A
Majority 33,024 94.8
Turnout 34,452 53.5
DUP hold Swing N/A
General Election 1983: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 23,922 54.2
UUP Robert Coulter 10,749 24.3
SDLP Sean Farren 6,193 14.0
Sinn Féin Pearse McMahon 2,860 6.5
Majority 13,173 29.8
Turnout 69.8
DUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 33,941 51.7 – 20.9
UUP Jeremy Burchill 15,398 23.4 N/A
Alliance Hugh Wilson 7,797 11.9 N/A
SDLP Sean Farren 4,867 7.4 – 5.4
Irish Independence John Turnly 3,689 5.6 N/A
Majority 18,543 28.2 – 29.1
Turnout 65,692 64.3 + 7.0
DUP hold Swing
General Election October 1974: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 43,186 72.6 +9.1
Alliance Hugh Wilson 8,689 14.6 N/A
SDLP Mary McAlister 7,616 12.8 – 2.7
Majority 34,497 58.0 + 15.5
Turnout 59,491 57.3 – 5.8
DUP hold Swing
General Election February 1974: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP Ian Paisley 41,282 63.5 +22.2
Pro-Assembly Unionist Thomas Edwin Utley 13,651 21.0 N/A
SDLP Miss Mary McAlister 10,056 15.5 N/A
Majority 27,631 42.5 +37.9
Turnout 64,989 63.1 –10.2
DUP hold Swing
General Election 1970: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Protestant Unionist Ian Paisley 24,130 41.2 N/A
UUP Henry Maitland Clark 21,451 36.6 – 41.5
Labour (NI) Patrick McHugh 6,476 11.0 N/A
National Democrats Alasdair McDonnell 4,312 7.4 N/A
Liberal Richard Moore 2,269 3.9 – 18.0
Majority 2,679 4.6 – 51.6
Turnout 58,638 73.4 + 16.7
Protestant Unionist gain from UUP Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Henry Maitland Clark 31,927 78.1 – 12.0
Liberal Richard Moore 8,941 21.9 N/A
Majority 22,986 56.2 – 24.1
Turnout 40,868 56.7 – 6.4
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1964: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Henry Maitland Clark 40,372 90.1 – 4.8
Independent Republican Sean Caughey 4,424 9.9 N/A
Majority 35,948 80.3 – 9.6
Turnout 44,796 63.3 – 1.6
UUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Henry Maitland Clark 42,807 94.9 + 8.9
Sinn Féin John Dougan 2,280 5.1 – 8.9
Majority 40,527 89.9 + 17.9
Turnout 45,087 64.5 – 7.7
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1955: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Phelim Robert Hugh O'Neill 41,763 86.0 N/A
Sinn Féin John Dougan 6,809 14.0 N/A
Majority 34,954 72.0 N/A
Turnout 48,572 72.2 N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
North Antrim by-election, 1953: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Phelim Robert Hugh O'Neill Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
General Election 1951: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Sir Hugh O'Neill Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
General Election 1950: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Sir Hugh O'Neill Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Peter Kerr-Smiley 9,621 78.3 +23.8
Sinn Féin Patrick McCarty 2,673 21.7 N/A
Majority 6,948 56.5 +47.6
Turnout 12,294 64.3 -22.6
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election December 1910: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Peter Kerr-Smiley 3,557 54.5 +1.6
Liberal William Macafee 2,974 45.5 -1.6
Majority 583 8.9 +3.2
Turnout 7,516 86.9 -1.6
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election January 1910: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Peter Kerr-Smiley 3,519 52.9 -8.8
Liberal William James Baxter 3,135 47.1 N/A
Majority 384 5.77 N/A
Turnout 7,516 88.5 +2.6
Irish Unionist gain from Russellite Unionist Swing N/A

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Russellite Unionist Robert Glendinning 3,757 55.9 N/A
Irish Unionist William Moore 2,969 44.1 N/A
Majority 788 11.7 N/A
Turnout 7,829 85.9 N/A
Russellite Unionist gain from Irish Unionist Swing N/A
General Election 1900: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Moore Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

North Antrim by-election, 1899: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Moore Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 1895: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Hugh McCalmont Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 1892: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Charles Cunningham Connor 4,666 69.7 +13.0
Liberal William Huston Dodd 2,027 30.3 -6.8
Majority 2,639 39.4 +19.9
Turnout 9,035 74.08 +2.5
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

North Antrim by-election, 1887
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Charles Edward Lewis 3,858 56.7 -13.2
Liberal Samuel Craig McElroy 2,526 37.1 +7.00
Independent Unionist William Atcheson Traill 424 6.2 N/A
Majority 1,332 19.6 -20.2
Turnout 9,505 71.6 +0.8
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 1886: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Edward MacNaghten 4,429 69.9 N/A
Liberal Samuel Craig McElroy 1,910 30.1 +0.7
Majority 2,519 39.7 N/A
Turnout 8,948 70.8 -10.7
Irish Unionist gain from Conservative Swing N/A
General Election 1885: North Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Edward MacNaghten 3,233 44.3 N/A
Liberal William Pirrie Sinclair 2,149 29.5 N/A
Independent John Pinkerton 1,915 26.2 N/A
Majority 1,084 14.9 N/A
Turnout 8,948 81.6 N/A
Conservative gain from new seat Swing N/A

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1950 – 1970

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Horsham
Constituency represented by the Father of the House
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Gower