Remainer electoral pact could cost DUP two seats in Belfast

The pact could tip the balance against the DUP in two Belfast seats

Northern Ireland’s two biggest pro-Remain republican parties have agreed not to run in several seats in order to give pro-Remain parties the best chance of winning.

This move, by Sinn Fein and the SDLP, is an attempt to limit the DUP’s influence in the next parliament.

After the last election, the Conservatives governed with the support of the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and their ten MPs.

Sinn Fein have agreed to stand down in South Belfast to give the SDLP a better chance of beating the DUP. In return, the SDLP will stand down in North Belfast to improve Sinn Fein’s chances there.

In North Belfast, where the SDLP has agreed not to run, the DUP has a 2,081 vote majority over Sinn Fein. In the last election, the SDLP’s candidate received 2,058 votes.

In South Belfast, Sinn Fein have agreed not to run. At the last election, the DUP had a 2,000 majority over the SDLP. In that election, Sinn Fein received 7,000 votes.

In East Belfast and North Down, neither party will run – in order to give the Alliance Party and independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon better chances of winning.

In East Belfast, the DUP has a 8,000 majority over the pro-Remain Alliance party.

However, Sinn Fein and SDLP’s votes are unlikely to tip the balance – as they received just over 1,000 votes between them at the last election.

In North Down, neither party will stand. The current MP for North Down is the independent Lady Sylvia Hermon who has a small majority over the pro-Brexit DUP.

Hermon campaigned for Remain in 2016, supports a second referendum and opposes a no-deal Brexit. However, she did vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal in January 2019.

North Down is one of the most unionist parts of Northern Ireland and Sinn Fein and the SDLP received under 1,000 votes between them in the last election.

Sinn Fein have always refused to take their seats in the British parliament as they want Northern Ireland to be part of Ireland. The SDLP also support a united Ireland but do take their seats in Westminster.

Northern Ireland’s two main Unionist parties have also made a pact as they have done in previous elections.

The UUP have agreed not to run in North Belfast or Tyrone in order to increase the DUP’s chances.

In January, Northern Irish trade unionist Claire Mullaly argued in Left Foot Forward that the DUP does not speak for Northern Ireland. While Northern Ireland voted to remain, the DUP support a hard Brexit.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

3 Responses to “Remainer electoral pact could cost DUP two seats in Belfast”

  1. Alasdair Macdonald

    Clearly, a fair proportion of unionists voted REMAIN in 2016 and it is they who might make the difference. The constituencies in NI are gerrymandered (and have been for decades) to ensure a unionist and recently a DUP win in most.
    The key factor is demographics. At the 2011 Census although self-identifying Protestants were the largest group, they were not, for the first time, a majority of the NI population. By 2021, the proportion of self-identifying Protestants will have reduced further. Although being Protestant and supporting unionists is not universal, a high proportion of Protestants are unionists. The same applies to the proportion identifying as Roman Catholic, with regard to SF, and, to a lesser extent, SDLP.
    If there is a change in NI, I suspect that the DUP might drop from 10 to 9 seats, although, if I were a betting man I would, probably, not bet on it. If the change takes place, I suspect it will be of REMAIN supporting unionists moving to the Alliance Party.

  2. Julia Gibb

    Parties working together! If only Labour could adopt that idea. “We will not form pacts”, “We never vote for SNP motions”, “We are the official opposition” and if all all else fails we will abstain.

    Is it not time for Labour to reach out to the SNP, PC and the Greens. The culture within the Labour Party that everyone not Labour is the enemy is wearing thin. The two party system is finished and Labour need to move on!

    Why not campaign to remove the need for an oath to the Crown to allow Sinn Fein to take their seats. I share the view of their voters and the MPs that you represent the people NOT the Crown nor the State. Labour should lead in the arguement that the PEOPLE are sovereign not the CROWN.

  3. Gary

    Any right thinking person should welcome anything that reduces the number of DUP MPs. We must remember that their former leader Ian Paisley (and others) were complicit in organising bombing campaigns and terrorising the civilian population. Despite, allegedly, being a man of the cloth, he helped ensure that innocent civilians were terrorised and murdered in cold blood.

    THESE are the extremists that TWO Tory PMs thought were fit to hold the balance of power for the entire UK. Their OWN VOTERS disagree with them on Brexit and many other issues besides. Religious extremists forcing their views down the throats of the whole of NI because of a rigged system and brainwashed voters who can’t see past the tribalist hate they continue to inspire.

    Hopefully these bigoted terrorist sympathisers will get kicked out at the GE. They have done exactly the opposite to what their voters wanted and squandered the opportunity they had to do something good for them. Meanwhile the Tories refused to push them into restarting democracy in NI by backpedalling on Stormont discussions.

    Weak Tories and vile DUP, what a combination, hopefully both can be ejected…

Leave a Reply