Belfast South (UK Parliament constituency)
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for the House of Commons
Boundary of Belfast South in Northern Ireland.
|Districts of Northern Ireland||Belfast, Castlereagh|
|Electorate||60,914 (March 2011)|
|Member of parliament||Alasdair McDonnell (SDLP)|
|Number of members||One|
|Created from||Belfast Cromac, Belfast Ormeau|
|Number of members||One|
|Type of constituency||Borough constituency|
|Replaced by||Belfast Cromac, Belfast Ormeau|
|European Parliament constituency||Northern Ireland|
- 1 Boundaries
- 2 History
- 3 Members of Parliament
- 4 Election results
- 4.1 Elections in the 2010s
- 4.2 Elections in the 2000s
- 4.3 Elections in the 1990s
- 4.4 Elections in the 1980s
- 4.5 Elections in the 1970s
- 4.6 Elections in the 1960s
- 4.7 Elections in the 1950s
- 4.8 Elections in the 1940s
- 4.9 Elections in the 1930s
- 4.10 Elections in the 1920s
- 4.11 Elections in the 1910s
- 4.12 Elections in the 1900s
- 4.13 Elections in the 1890s
- 4.14 Elections in the 1880s
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
1950-1974: The County Borough of Belfast wards of Cromac, Ormeau, and Windsor.
1974-1983: The County Borough of Belfast wards of Cromac, Ormeau, and Windsor, the Rural District of Lisburn electoral divisions of Ardmore, Dunmurry, Finaghy, and Upper Malone, and the Rural District of Hillsborough electoral divisions of Breda and Edenderry.
1983-1997: The District of Belfast wards of Ballynafeigh, Cromac, Donegall, Finaghy, Malone, Ormeau, Rosetta, St George's, Stranmillis, University, Upper Malone, Willowfield, and Windsor.
1997-2010: The District of Belfast wards of Ballynafeigh, Blackstaff, Botanic, Finaghy, Malone, Musgrave, Ravenhill, Rosetta, Shaftesbury, Stranmillis, Upper Malone, Windsor, and Woodstock, and the District of Castlereagh wards of Beechill, Cairnshill, Galwally, Knockbracken, Minnowburn, and Newtownbreda.
2010-present: The District of Belfast wards of Ballynafeigh, Blackstaff, Botanic, Finaghy, Malone, Musgrave, Ravenhill, Rosetta, Shaftesbury, Stranmillis, Upper Malone, Windsor, and Woodstock, and the District of Castlereagh wards of Beechill, Cairnshill, Carryduff East, Carryduff West, Galwally, Hillfoot, Knockbracken, Minnowburn, Newtownbreda, and Wynchurch.
The seat was created in 1922 when, as part of the establishment of the devolved Stormont Parliament for Northern Ireland, the number of MPs in the Westminster Parliament was drastically cut. The seat is centred on the Belfast City Council districts of Balmoral, Laganbank and Pottinger and also contains part of the district of Castlereagh.
Prior to the 2010 general election the Boundary Commission proposed expanding Belfast South further into Castlereagh, taking in areas currently contained in both Strangford and Belfast East. This was strongly opposed by the DUP but supported by the Ulster Unionists. It was also one of the issues which generated the most negative comments in the written submissions with a petition representing half of Cregagh's residents opposing its move.
Following the local enquiries, the Boundary Commission proposed retaining the Cregagh ward in East Belfast while transferring instead the Hillfoot ward. These proposals were submitted as final recommendations and were put into force through the passing of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Constituencies Order in 2008.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Belfast South tended to elect 'rebel unionists' such as William Johnston, who famously defied a ban on Orange marches, and Thomas Sloan, founder of the Independent Orange Order.
Belfast South, centred on the River Lagan contains some of Belfast's most exclusive residential districts as well as Queen's University Belfast, and the overall tenor of the constituency is middle-class – young, trendy and cosmopolitan towards the city centre, with Northern Ireland's biggest concentrations of both students and ethnic minorities, and settled and prosperous further out. Despite this, significant pockets of inner-city working class areas such as the Markets and a number of isolated suburban estates are in the constituency.
There has been particularly rapid demographic change in Belfast South over the past 20 years, change which seems to be continuing. Since the 2011 census, Belfast South consists of a slightly larger Catholic population than Protestant. Belfast South traditionally had a unionist majority, but the nationalist vote has now surpassed this in more recent elections. There have also been strong votes for other parties such as the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Conservatives and the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition. The seat has also seen a steady series of candidates backed by groups who aspire to support the British Labour Party despite its prior ban on membership and organisation in Northern Ireland, though their results have been minimal. Until the 1990s the main focus of attention has been on contests between unionist candidates.
In the February 1974 general election the seat was won by Robert Bradford of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party on a united anti-Sunningdale Agreement slate with the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. He defeated Rafton Pounder, the sitting Unionist MP who defended his seat as a pro-Assembly unionist. Bradford held the seat for the next seven years, though in February 1978 he and the rump of Vanguard reunited with the Ulster Unionists. At the end of 1981 Bradford was assassinated by the IRA in a Belfast community centre while hosting a political surgery.
The subsequent by-election garnered much interest as it was expected that the Democratic Unionist Party would take the seat, building on their steady rise which had seen them gain both Belfast North and Belfast East at the previous general election. However, the DUP came third, behind the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, and the UUP's candidate Martin Smyth won the seat, holding it until 2005. The by-election was extremely significant at the time in that it was the first at which the DUP tide ebbed.
In the 2001 general election less than 50% of voters voted for unionist parties for the first time in its history, but this has been attributed[who?] to a collapse in the vote for the small Progressive Unionist Party as well as to Smyth's fierce opposition to the Good Friday Agreement which is estimated to have sent many pro-Agreement unionist voters to vote tactically for the Social Democratic and Labour Party.
In January 2005 Smyth announced that he would be retiring at the 2005 general election, raising speculation both as to whom the Ulster Unionists would field in succession to him and what effect a different candidate would have upon their share of the vote. The UUP selected Assembly member Michael McGimpsey, albeit with a highly controversial and bitter selection. The aftermath saw McGimpsey repudiated by many prominent local and national Ulster Unionists, including both Smyth and former UUP leader James Molyneaux. The DUP selected Jimmy Spratt and offered an electoral pact to the UUP that would give each party a free run at one out of South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone. This offer was rejected by the UUP.
In the event, the DUP and UUP both fielded candidates which split the vote, while the nationalist vote mainly went for the SDLP over Sinn Féin, with the result that the SDLP took the seat despite a majority of votes cast for unionist candidates.
In 2010, Sinn Féin opted not to stand against the SDLP to avoid splitting the nationalist vote. This effort was successful as the SDLP won the seat with a majority of 6,000. This was the seat in which the Alliance Party had their second-best showing, polling 15% of the votes. Alasdair McDonnell retained the seat in May 2015, with only 24.5% of the vote. This is the smallest proportion of the vote a winning candidate has ever achieved in a UK general election.
Members of Parliament
The Member of Parliament since the 2005 general election is Alasdair McDonnell of the Social Democratic and Labour Party. He succeeded the Rev Martin Smyth of the Ulster Unionist Party, who had sat for the seat from a by-election in 1982 until retiring at the 2005 election.
Elections in the 2010s
|Sinn Féin||Máirtín Ó Muilleoir||5,402||13.9||N/A|
|Green (NI)||Clare Bailey||2,238||5.7||+2.7|
|NI Conservatives||Ben Manton||582||1.5||N/A|
|Workers' Party||Lily Kerr||361||0.9||N/A|
|Green (NI)||Adam McGibbon||1,036||3.0||N/A|
Elections in the 2000s
|Sinn Féin||Alex Maskey||2,882||9.0||+1.4|
|Rainbow Dream Ticket||Lynda Gilby||235||0.7||+0.4|
|Workers' Party||Paddy Lynn||193||0.6||+0.1|
|SDLP gain from UUP||Swing|
|NI Women's Coalition||Monica McWilliams||2,968||7.8||0.0|
|Sinn Féin||Alex Maskey||2,894||7.6||+2.5|
|Workers' Party||Paddy Lynn||204||0.5||-0.2|
|Rainbow Dream Ticket||Rainbow George Weiss||115||0.3||N/A|
Elections in the 1990s
|Sinn Féin||Seán Hayes||2,019||5.1||+2.6|
|NI Women's Coalition||Annie Campbell||1,204||3.0||N/A|
|NI Conservatives||Myrtle Boal||962||2.4||-9.3|
|Independent Labour||Niall Cusack||292||0.7||N/A|
|Workers' Party||Paddy Lynn||286||0.7||N/A|
|Natural Law||James Anderson||120||0.3||N/A|
1997 Changes are compared to the 1992 notional results shown below.
|NI Conservatives||Andrew Fee||3,356||10.0|
|Sinn Féin||Seán Hayes||1,123||3.3|
|Labour and Trade Union||Peter Hadden||875||2.6|
|Workers' Party||Paddy Lynn||362||1.1|
|Natural Law||Teresa Mullen||212||0.6|
Elections in the 1980s
|Workers' Party||Gerry Carr||1,528||4.7|
|Sinn Féin||Seán McKnight||1,030||3.2|
|Workers' Party||Gerry Carr||1,109||3.6|
Note: The by-election was caused by the decision of all Unionist MPs to resign their seats and seek re-election on a platform of opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
|Sinn Féin||Sean McKnight||1,107||3.0|
|Workers' Party||Gerry Carr||856||2.3|
|Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party||John McMichael||576||1.3|
|United Labour Party||Brian Caul||303||0.7|
|One Human Family||Jagat Narain||137||0.3|
|Peace State||Simon Hall-Raleigh||12||0.03|
Elections in the 1970s
|UUP||Robert Jonathan Bradford||28,875||61.7|
|Unionist Party NI||Victor Brennan||1,784||3.8||N/A|
|Labour Integrationist||Jeffrey Dudgeon||692||1.5||N/A|
|Vanguard||Robert Jonathan Bradford||30,116||59.2|
|Independent Unionist||Stanley McMaster||4,982||9.8||N/A|
|NI Labour||Erskine Holmes||1,643||3.2|
|Vanguard||Robert Jonathan Bradford||22,083||42.6||N/A|
|Pro-Assembly Unionist||Rafton Pounder||18,085||34.9|
|NI Labour||Erskine Holmes||2,455||4.7|
|Vanguard gain from UUP||Swing|
|NI Labour||John Coulthard||11,567||29.6|
Elections in the 1960s
|NI Labour||Erskine Holmes||12,364||34.6|
|NI Labour||John Barkley||8,792||22.4|
|Independent Republican||Robert McKnight||1,159||3.0|
|NI Labour||Norman Searight||7,209|
Elections in the 1950s
|NI Labour||Norman Searight||9,318||21.6|
|Sinn Féin||Brendan O'Reilly||434||1.0|
|NI Labour||Edward Brown||7,508||17.6|
|Sinn Féin||Patrick Kearney||1,679||3.9|
|NI Labour||Samuel Napier||7,655||24.9|
|NI Labour||Robert McBrinn||11,815||24.2|
|NI Labour||James McKernan||11,428||24.8|
Elections in the 1940s
|UUP||Conolly Hugh Gage||24,282||52.2|
|Commonwealth Labour||Harry Midgley||14,096||30.3|
|NI Labour||James Morrow||8,166||17.5|
Elections in the 1930s
Elections in the 1920s
|UUP||William John Stewart||24,019||62.9||n/a|
|Independent Unionist||Philip James Woods||14,148||37.1||n/a|
Elections in the 1910s
|Irish Unionist||William Arthur Lindsay||Unopposed||N/A||N/A|
|Irish Unionist hold||Swing||N/A|
|Irish Unionist||James Chambers||Unopposed||N/A||N/A|
|Irish Unionist hold||Swing||N/A|
|Irish Unionist||James Chambers||5,585|
|Independent Unionist||Thomas Henry Sloan||2,722|
|Irish Unionist hold||Swing|
|Irish Unionist||James Chambers||5,772|
|Independent Unionist||Thomas Henry Sloan||3,553|
|Irish Unionist gain from Independent Unionist||Swing|
Elections in the 1900s
|Independent Unionist||Thomas Henry Sloan||4,450||N/A|
|Irish Unionist||Lord Arthur Hill||3,634||N/A|
|Independent Unionist gain from Conservative||Swing||N/A|
|Independent Unionist||Thomas Henry Sloan||3,795||N/A|
|Conservative||C. W. Dunbar Buller||2,969||N/A|
|Independent Unionist gain from Conservative||Swing|
Elections in the 1890s
Elections in the 1880s
|Irish Parliamentary||A. McErlean||657|
|Irish Parliamentary||J. W. Workman||990|
- Lowry, Ben (2015-05-09). "McDonnell won S.Belfast with lowest ever vote share by a UK MP". News Letter (Belfast). Retrieved 2016-01-26.
- "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Westminster Candidates, Ulster Unionist Party, 20 March 2010
- "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
4. Correction: Clare Bailey, Green Party in Northern Ireland (not Green Party of England and Wales)
- F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918 – 1949
- F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1950 – 1970
- The Liberal Year Book For 1917, Liberal Publication Department
- The Constitutional Year Book For 1912, Conservative Central Office
- The Constitutional Year Book For 1894, Conservative Central Office