The constituency of North Down is still awaiting the election of three more MPs this morning.
x-DUP MP Alex Easton topped the poll last night as an independent after being ‘released’ from his former party.
Andrew Muir (Alliance) was elected at the third stage, and the next in line will be Stephen Dunne (DUP), Connie Egan (Alliance) and Alan Chambers (UUP).
After receiving 9,568 first preference votes, Alex Easton said he felt vindicated after running as an independent.
“I’m over the moon, I’m very humbled and just want to say thank you to the people who voted for me in North Down and I promise to represent them to the best of my abilities,” he said.
“I haven’t had two easy years and things have been tough for me.
“I lost a lot of friends and made a lot of new friends.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster the last few years.”
He also made it clear that he had no intention of returning to the DUP after he felt he had only stood for election in the past. In the 2017 Assembly elections, he received the most first-preference votes of any candidate.
As a freelancer, he said there was less pressure and it allowed him to make his own decisions.
Stephen Dunne of the DUP currently sits with 6,902 votes, a touching distance from the quota of 6,958.
Speaking last night after being elected in the third round, Andrew Muir said he was delighted to get his own mandate after taking over from Stephen Farry.
“I am very aware that this mandate is to serve, it is to deliver for the people and next week I will be in the Assembly at 9am on Monday morning, working hard to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. North,” he said.
In the third stage, his party colleague Connie Egan was sitting on 5,363 votes.
Speaking earlier, she said: ‘I feel great, it’s amazing how many people have decided to give me their first preference vote. It’s a real honor.
“Obviously Alliance has surveyed very well across Northern Ireland and that has been reflected in North Down.
“My first election to the Assembly and I’m obviously delighted with the result.”