Fermanagh and South Tyrone: UUP lose female representation at Stormont as Tom Elliott replaces Rosemary Barton

Sinn Fein’s Jemma Dolan secured the party’s top seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone last night with 9,067 votes in the first stage of the count, while the return to politics of UUP’s Tom Elliott proved a success, as he won the second seat in the sixth stage. Saturday with 9,007.

r Elliott replaced running mate Rosemary Barton, who had been an MP since 2016, meaning the UUP no longer has female representation in Stormont.

The quota was 8,958, with 53,743 valid ballots returned.

The count did not reach stage three until late Friday evening and it was confirmed on Saturday morning that Ms Barton had secured the lowest number of votes at 2,959.

Mr Elliott has previously said he and his colleague had “a mutual understanding that whatever happens, happens”. He added: “We take it as it comes. Rosemary and I have known each other for many years. In fact, she taught me in school. There is no problem around that. Anyway, we accept.

Ms Barton said she was ‘disappointed’ with the outcome but thanked voters who have supported her over the past six years, adding that ‘Fermanagh-South Tyrone will be left in very safe and capable hands’ with Mr Elliott .

Mr Elliott held the seat of Fermanagh-South Tyrone Westminster from 2015 to 2017 and was MP for the constituency for 12 years prior. Ms Barton had been an MP since 2016.

Not far behind Jemma Dolan on Saturday are her colleagues Colm Gildernew with 8,128 votes and Aine Murphy with 7,816.

Both candidates have won numerous transfers from Ms Dolan in the sixth stage of the count.

The DUP’s Deborah Erskine appears secure for the time being in the seat she inherited from her former party leader, Arlene Foster.

Constituency links

The former party press secretary had 6,536 this afternoon but is trailing her colleague, Paul Bell, with 6,033. SDLP’s Adam Gannon is next at 6,027.

As things stand, it looks like Sinn Fein will retain their three seats in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, with the DUP and UUP still holding the other two seats.

Nevertheless, Fermanagh and South Tyrone are renowned for going straight to the point in recent Assembly elections, and it is still in its infancy.

In the final stages of the count today, Alliance Party’s Matthew Beaumont and TUV’s Alex Elliott were both eliminated.

Voter turnout was lower this year than it was in 2017, with 69.09% of the eligible electorate, down from 72.6% five years ago.

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