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13 Dec, 2019 09:31

Irish nationalists win more seats than pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland FOR FIRST TIME EVER

Voters in Northern Ireland have elected more Irish nationalists than pro-British unionists to the UK parliament in the 2019 general election for the first time; all 18 seats are now decided.
Irish nationalists win more seats than pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland FOR FIRST TIME EVER

Sinn Féin, the largest nationalist party, held on to its seven seats with the fellow pro-Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) winning two seats, combining to overtake the Democratic Unionist Party who lost two, leaving them with just eight seats. 

The cross-community Alliance Party, which has moved to a position of neutrality on the union won the final constituency, meaning anti-Brexit MPs now form the majority in Northern Ireland.

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It’s the first time in Northern Ireland’s history, since the partition of the island of Ireland in 1921, that Irish nationalists outnumber pro-British unionists in the UK parliament. It could lead to more calls for a vote on Irish reunification, with British PM Boris Johnson winning a massive majority across the union.

Sinn Féin see Johnson’s Brexit as an opportunity to further the case for a United Ireland, if as expected, Northern Ireland is taken out of the EU next year. The Northern Ireland secretary can call a referendum if they believe there is a majority in favour of reunification.

A poll carried out by Lord Ashcroft in September showed that there was a slim majority in favour of a united Ireland among people in Northern Ireland.

46 percent stated that they would choose to leave the union and join the Republic of Ireland, while 45 percent said that they’d vote to stay in the UK in a referendum on unification.

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It capped a poor night for the DUP, who, despite remaining the largest Northern Irish party, lost their MP for North Belfast. The party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds was defeated by Sinn Féin’s John Finucane in the constituency.

Dodds’s party colleague Edwin Poots claimed his defeat was very damaging for unionism. “Ultimately, if we are going to protect the union, enhance the union and secure the union, then we’re going to have to have people voting unionist,” Poots told BBC Northern Ireland.

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