for the House of Commons
|Major settlements||Newtownards, Comber|
|Member of Parliament||Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)|
|Created from||North Down, Belfast South and Belfast East|
The seat was created after boundary changes in 1983, as part of an expansion of Northern Ireland's constituencies from 12 to 17, and was predominantly made up from parts of North Down. At its creation the constituency was formed from the local government district of Ards, and the Castlereagh districts of Beechill, Fourwinds, Hillfoot, Lower Braniel, Minnowburn, Moneyreagh, Newtownbreda, and Upper Braniel.
In 1995, the Commission controversially recommended abolishing the constituency and dividing it between North Down and new constituencies of Mid Down, and Castlereagh and Newtownards. This was successfully opposed in local enquiries and from the 1997 general election it was made up of parts of the districts of Ards, Castlereagh and Down.
- Ballygowan, Ballyrainey, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Bradshaw's Brae, Carrowdore, Central, Comber East, Comber North, Comber West, Glen, Gregstown, Killinchy, Kircubbin, Lisbane, Loughries, Movilla, Portaferry, Portavogie, Scrabo and Whitespots, from the Ards district.
- From the Down district; Ballymaglave, Ballynahinch East, Derryboy, Killyleagh, Kilmore and Saintfield
- The Moneyreagh ward from Castlereagh district
The constituency has been represented by Unionist candidates since it was formed. There have not been significant votes for parties outside the traditional unionist block, although the Alliance has saved its deposit in every election.
The main interest in elections has been the contest between the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Until 2001, the UUP were clearly ahead of the DUP in the Westminster elections, but elections to regional assemblies and local government were much closer. In 2001 the sitting MP John Taylor stood down and the contest to succeed him was fierce. The seat was won by Iris Robinson for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the subsequent 2003 assembly election saw the DUP increase their vote further.
Members of Parliament
The first Member of Parliament for the seat was John Taylor of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). After the 2001 general election, he was succeeded by Iris Robinson (the wife of Peter Robinson) of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Robinson resigned in January 2010 after a scandal involving financial dealings. However, no by-election was held, as the next general election was held in May.
|1983||John Taylor||Ulster Unionist|
|2001||Iris Robinson||Democratic Unionist*|
|2010||Jim Shannon||Democratic Unionist|
* Note: Iris Robinson left the DUP shortly before taking Chiltern Hundreds to leave the Commons. The seat was vacant from 13 January 2010 until the general election on 6 May 2010.
Elections in the 2010s
|Ulster Unionist||Phillip Smith||4,023||10.7||―0.7|
|NI Conservatives||Grant Abraham||1,476||3.9||+2.6|
|Green (NI)||Maurice Macartney||790||2.1||+0.5|
|Sinn Féin||Ryan Carlin||555||1.5||―1.3|
|Ulster Unionist||Mike Nesbitt||4,419||11.4||―2.9|
|Sinn Féin||Carole Murphy||1,083||2.8||+0.2|
|Green (NI)||Ricky Bamford||607||1.6||New|
|NI Conservatives||Claire Hiscott||507||1.3||―5.1|
|Ulster Unionist||Robert Burgess||4,868||14.3||―13.5|
|NI Conservatives||Johnny Andrews||2,167||6.4||New|
|Sinn Féin||Sheila Bailie||876||2.6||―1.0|
|Sinn Féin||Michael Coogan||1,161||3.6||―0.1|
|Green (NI)||Barbara Haig||562||1.7||New|
Elections in the 2000s
|Ulster Unionist||Gareth McGimpsey||7,872||21.3||―19.0|
|NI Conservatives||Terry Dick||1,462||3.9||New|
|Sinn Féin||Dermot Kennedy||949||2.6||+0.4|
|Ulster Unionist||David McNarry||17,422||40.3||―4.0|
|Sinn Féin||Liam Johnston||930||2.2||+1.0|
|NI Unionist||Cedric Wilson||822||1.9||New|
|DUP gain from Ulster Unionist||Swing||―8.3|
Elections in the 1990s
|Ulster Unionist||John David Taylor||18,431||44.3||―4.7|
|NI Conservatives||Gilbert Chalk||1,743||4.2||―10.0|
|Sinn Féin||Garret O'Fachtna||503||1.2||New|
|Natural Law||Sarah Mullins||121||0.3||―0.4|
|Ulster Unionist hold||Swing||―7.6|
|Ulster Unionist||John David Taylor||19,517||43.6||―32.3|
|NI Conservatives||Stephen John Arthur Eyre||6,782||15.1||New|
|Natural Law||David Shaw||295||0.7||New|
|Ulster Unionist hold||Swing|
Elections in the 1980s
|Ulster Unionist||John David Taylor||28,199||75.9||+27.1|
|Workers' Party||Imelda Elizabeth Hynds||1,385||3.7||New|
|Ulster Unionist hold||Swing|
|Ulster Unionist||John David Taylor||32,627||94.2||+45.4|
|"For the Anglo-Irish Agreement"||"Peter Barry" (Wesley Robert Williamson)||1,993||5.8||New|
|Ulster Unionist hold||Swing|
|Ulster Unionist||John David Taylor||19,086||48.8|
|Independent Labour||Samuel Raymond Heath||430||1.1|
|Ulster Unionist win (new seat)|
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