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Westminster By-Election (NI) 21 September 2000



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Westminster By-Election (NI)
Thursday 21 September 2000

Introduction

The south Antrim by-election was called following the death in April 2000 of the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Clifford Forsythe. The seat had been a safe one for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) with the UUP having a 16,611 vote majority at the last Westminster election on 1 May 1997. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) did not contest the seat in 1997. The two main candidates in the contest on 21 September 2000 were the David Burnside of the UUP and William McCrea (Rev.) of the DUP. During the election campaign most commentators said the result was too close to call but some felt the UUP would hold the seat by a narrow margin. However, McCrea won the seat on behalf of the DUP with a majority of 822 votes. The result was seen as a blow to David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, and also a blow to the Good Friday Agreement.

Summary of Results

Electorate: 71,047
Total valid vote: 30,567
Spoiled votes:
Percentage turnout: 43%

Party
Votes
% Valid Votes
William McCrea (Rev.), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
11,601
37.95
David Burnside, Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
10,779
35.26
Donovan McClelland, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
3,496
11.44
Martin Meehan, Sinn Féin (SF)
2,611
8.54
David Ford, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI)
2,031
6.64
David Collins, Natural Law Party (NLP)
49
0.16
Total
30,567
100.00

Source: Various media reports

 


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