South Antrim (UK Parliament constituency)

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For other constituencies of the same name, see South Antrim (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 54°43′16″N 6°14′28″W / 54.721°N 6.241°W / 54.721; -6.241

South Antrim
County constituency
SouthAntrimConstituency.svg
South Antrim shown within Northern Ireland
Created: 1885, 1950
MP: William McCrea
Party: Democratic Unionist
Type: House of Commons
Districts: Antrim, Newtownabbey
EP constituency: Northern Ireland
South Antrim
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
18851922
Replaced by Antrim
Created from Antrim, Lisburn

South Antrim is a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons.

Boundaries[edit]

From 1885, this constituency was one of four county divisions of the former Antrim constituency. It comprised the baronies of Massereene Upper, Massereene Lower, and Antrim Upper, and parts of the Baronies of Upper Toome and Belfast Upper, and so much of the Parliamentary Borough of Belfast as was in the County of Antrim.

It returned one Member of Parliament. In 1922, it was merged into a new Antrim constituency.

The seat 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 seat was reduced in size for the 1974 general election, with the town of Carrickfergus and the areas between it and Larne town transferred to North Antrim. Additionally some territory was transferred to Belfast West.[1] Despite these changes, the seat had become the largest in the entire United Kingdom by the time of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections of 1982, by which time its electorate had passed the 131,000 mark.[2] For the 1983 general election Northern Ireland received new seats. Consequently, South Antrim was significantly reduced, losing a lot of territory to the new seats of East Antrim and Lagan Valley as well as minor sections to Belfast West, Belfast North and Upper Bann. The new South Antrim which was fought for the 1983 election contained only 43% of the previous seat.[3] In 1995 there were minor changes around the borders with North Belfast and West Belfast. The seat fought at the 2005 election encompassed the entirety of the district of Antrim and part of the district of Newtownabbey.

Following consultation of boundary changes across Northern Ireland, the altered South Antrim constituency fought at the 2010 general election is made up as follows:[4]

  • Glenavy from Lisburn City government area
  • Ballyclare North, Ballyclare South, Ballyduff, Ballynure, Ballyrobert, Burnthill, Carnmoney, Doagh, Hawthorne, Mallusk, and Mossley, from Newtownabbey
  • The district of Antrim

History[edit]

South Antrim is an overwhelmingly unionist constituency which once had the strongest vote for the Ulster Unionist Party anywhere in the province. From 1886 to 1974 the Conservative and Unionist members of the United Kingdom House of Commons formed a single Parliamentary party, and they continuously represented South Antrim

In 1951, it was one of the last four seats to be uncontested in a British General Election. In the 1979 general election James Molyneaux had the largest majority of any MP in the entire of the United Kingdom, helped also by having one of the largest electorates.

The boundary changes in 1983 reduced the Ulster Unionist vote somewhat, with a significant portion now contained in the new Lagan Valley (which Molyneaux then contested) but the constituency still gave strong results for the party.

However, in April 2000 the Ulster Unionist incumbent, Clifford Forsythe, died suddenly. The ensuing by-election took place amidst a fierce political struggle between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party over the Good Friday Agreement, an agreement that the UUP were themselves split over. The DUP had not contested the seat at the previous general election but on this occasion stood William McCrea, the former MP for Mid Ulster, who campaigned strongly on the DUP's refusal to co-operate with Sinn Féin in the absence of arms decommissioning by the IRA. The local UUP branch selected David Burnside to contest the seat who declared that he had supported the Good Friday Agreement at the time that it was signed but had since become disillusioned with its implementation. As a result many commentators predicted that whatever the outcome of the election it was a severe blow for the UUP's leader David Trimble. On a low turnout amidst a fierce contest McCrea narrowly won the seat.

Burnside was nominated again to contest the seat in the 2001 general election in which he overturned McCrea's majority, aided by tactical voting by SDLP and Alliance voters. However the DUP were eager to regain the seat and in the 2003 Assembly election they outpolled the UUP by 298 votes. In the 2005 general election McCrea defeated Burnside in their third contest, but with a noticeably lower swing than those garnered by other DUP candidates who ousted UUP MPs.

Members of Parliament[edit]

The Member of Parliament is William McCrea of the Democratic Unionist Party. He was first elected to the seat in a by-election in 2000 but in the 2001 general election he was defeated by David Burnside of the Ulster Unionist Party. In the 2005 general election McCrea reversed that defeat.

MPs 1885–1922[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 William Ellison-Macartney Conservative
1886 Irish Unionist
1903 by-election Charles Craig Irish Unionist
1922 constituency abolished

MPs since 1950[edit]

Election Member Party
1950 constituency recreated
1950 Douglas Lloyd Savory Ulster Unionist
1955 Knox Cunningham Ulster Unionist
1970 James Molyneaux Ulster Unionist
1983 Clifford Forsythe Ulster Unionist
2000 by-election William McCrea Democratic Unionist
2001 David Burnside Ulster Unionist
2005 William McCrea Democratic Unionist

Elections[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Danny Kinahan
DUP William McCrea
Sinn Féin Declan Kearney
Alliance Neil Kelly
General Election 2010: South Antrim[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP William McCrea 11,536 33.9 −4.3
UCU-NF Reg Empey 10,353 30.4 +1.3
Sinn Féin Mitchel McLaughlin[6] 4,729 13.9 +2.3
SDLP Michelle Byrne[7] 2,955 8.7 −3.7
Alliance Alan Lawther 2,607 7.7 −0.9
TUV Mel Lucas 1,829 5.4 +5.4
Majority 1,183 3.5 −5.6
Turnout 34,009 53.9 −3.4
DUP hold Swing

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP William McCrea 14,507 38.2 +3.4
UUP David Burnside 11,059 29.1 −8.0
SDLP Noreen McClelland 4,706 12.4 +0.3
Sinn Féin Henry Cushinan 4,407 11.6 +2.2
Alliance David Ford 3,278 8.6 +4.1
Majority 3,448 9.1
Turnout 37,957 56.7 −5.8
DUP gain from UUP Swing +5.7
General Election 2001: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP David Burnside 16,366 37.1 −20.4
DUP William McCrea 15,355 34.8 0.0
SDLP Sean A. McKee 5,336 12.1 −4.1
Sinn Féin Martin Meehan 4,160 9.4 +3.9
Alliance David Ford 1,969 4.5 −7.2
NI Unionist Norman Boyd 972 2.2 N/A
Majority 1,011 2.3
Turnout 44,158 62.5 +4.6
UUP hold Swing
By-election 2000: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DUP William McCrea 11,601 38.0 N/A
UUP David Burnside 10,779 35.3 −22.2
SDLP Donovan McClelland 3,496 11.4 −4.7
Sinn Féin Martin Meehan 2,611 8.5 +3.0
Alliance David Ford 2,031 6.6 −5.0
Natural Law David H. Collins 49 0.2 −0.3
Majority 822 2.7
Turnout 30,567 43
DUP gain from UUP Swing 5.7

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Clifford Forsythe 23,108 57.5 −13.9
SDLP Donovan McClelland 6,497 16.2 +3.4
Alliance David Ford 4,668 11.6 +0.7
PUP Hugh Smyth 3,490 9.0 N/A
Sinn Féin Henry Cushinan 2,229 5.5 +2.5
Natural Law Barbara A. Briggs 203 0.5 N/A
Majority 16,611 41.3
Turnout 40,195 57.8
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1992: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Clifford Forsythe 29,956 70.9 +1.1
SDLP Donovan McClelland 5,397 12.8 +2.9
Alliance John K. Blair 5,244 12.4 −3.6
Sinn Féin Henry J. Cushinan 1,220 2.9 −1.5
Independent Denis J. Dino Martin 442 1.1 N/A
Majority 24,559 58.1
Turnout 42,259 62.9
UUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Clifford Forsythe 25,395 69.8 +24.1
Alliance Gordon Mawhinney 5,808 16.0 +4.1
SDLP Donovan McClelland 3,611 9.9 +1.2
Sinn Féin Henry W. Cushinan 1,592 4.4 +0.2
Majority 19,587 53.8
Turnout 36,406 62.9
UUP hold Swing
South Antrim by-election, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Clifford Forsythe 30,087 94.1 +48.4
"For the Anglo-Irish Agreement" "Peter Barry" 1,870 5.9 N/A
Majority 28,217 88.3
Turnout 31,957 53.5
UUP hold Swing N/A
General Election 1983: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Clifford Forsythe 17,727 45.7
DUP Roy Thompson 10,935 28.2
Alliance Gordon Mawhinney 4,612 11.9
SDLP Alban Maginness 3,377 8.7
Sinn Féin Sean H. Laverty 1,629 4.2
Workers' Party Kevin Smyth 549 1.4
Majority 6,792 17.5
Turnout 38,829 65.5
UUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP James Molyneaux 50,782 69.0
Alliance Charles Kinahan 11,914 16.2
SDLP Patrick Rowan 7,432 10.1
Independent Labour Bob Kidd 1,895 2.6
Republican Clubs Kevin Smyth 1,615 2.2
Majority 38,868 52.8
Turnout 73,638 58.2
UUP hold Swing
General Election October 1974: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP James Molyneaux 48,892 71.5
Alliance Charles Kinahan 10,460 15.3
SDLP Patrick Rowan 9,061 13.2
Majority 38,432 56.2
Turnout 68,413 58.1
UUP hold Swing
General Election February 1974: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP James Molyneaux 48,203 67.6
Alliance Charles Kinahan 12,559 17.6
SDLP Patrick John Rowan 8,769 12.3
Independent Bob Kidd 1,801 2.5 N/A
Majority 35,644 50.0
Turnout 71,332 61.1
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1970: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP James Molyneaux 59,589 61.2
Labour (NI) Robert Johnston 19,971 20.5
Independent Unionist Tom Caldwell 10,938 11.2
National Democrats Daniel MacAllister 6,037 6.2
Liberal Rodney Smith 913 0.9
Majority 39,618 40.7
Turnout 97,448 68.0
UUP hold Swing 97,448

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Knox Cunningham 40,840 64.3
Labour (NI) Sydney Stewart 22,672 35.7
Majority 18,168 28.6
Turnout 63,512 55.9
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1964: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Knox Cunningham 47,325 69.9
Labour (NI) Sydney Stewart 16,531 24.4
Independent Republican Leo Wilson 3,830 5.7
Majority 30,794 45.5
Turnout 67,686 64.3
UUP hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Knox Cunningham 52,786 95.1
Sinn Féin Michael Traynor 2,745 4.9
Majority 50,041 90.1
Turnout 55,531 59.3
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1955: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Knox Cunningham 50,347 90.7
Sinn Féin Michael Traynor 5,155 9.3
Majority 45,192 81.4
Turnout 55,502 65.3
UUP hold Swing
General Election 1951: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Douglas Lloyd Savory Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
General Election 1950: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Douglas Lloyd Savory 41,023 83.6 N/A
Labour (NI) Edward Brown 8,068 16.4 N/A
Majority 32,955 67.1 N/A
Turnout 49,091 63.3 N/A
UUP win (new seat)

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Charles Curtis Craig 13,270 85.1 N/A
Sinn Féin Kevin Roantree O'Shiel 2,318 14.9 N/A
Majority 10,952 70.3 N/A
Turnout 15,558 67.1 N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election Dec 1910: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Charles Curtis Craig Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
General Election January 1910: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Charles Curtis Craig 5,310 69.41 N/A
Liberal William Moffat Clow 2,340 30.59 N/A
Majority 2,970 38.82 N/A
Turnout 9,900 77.27 N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UUP Charles Curtis Craig Unopposed N/A N/A
UUP hold Swing N/A
South Antrim by-election, 1903
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist Charles Curtis Craig 4,464 55.25 +0.86
Russellite Unionist Samuel Robert Keightley 3,615 44.75 +44.75
Majority 849 10.51 +1.73
Turnout 10,236 78.93 +13.86
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 1900: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Grey Ellison Macartney 3,674 54.39 N/A
Independent Unionist Samuel Lawther 3,081 45.61 N/A
Majority 593 8.78 N/A
Turnout 10,381 65.07 N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1895: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Grey Ellison Macartney Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 1892: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Grey Ellison Macartney Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1886: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Irish Unionist William Grey Ellison Macartney Unopposed N/A N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
General Election 7 December 1885: South Antrim
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative William Grey Ellison Macartney 5,047 57.83 N/A
Liberal John Doherty Barbour 3,680 42.17 N/A
Majority 1,367 15.66 N/A
Turnout 10,824 80.63 N/A

See also[edit]

References[edit]