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North Belfast

Notional 2005 Results:
DUP: 16523 (44.5%)
SF: 9840 (26.5%)
SDLP: 5975 (16.1%)
UUP: 3396 (9.1%)
Alliance: 1097 (3.0%)
Other: 321 (0.9%)
Majority: 6683 (18%)

2005 Result:
DUP: 13935 (45.6%)
SF: 8747 (28.6%)
SDLP: 4950 (16.2%)
UU: 2154 (7.1%)
Alliance: 438 (1.4%)
Workers: 165 (0.5%)
Rainbow: 151 (0.5%)
Majority: 5188 (17%)

Boundary Changes: Gains parts of Antrim East and South Antrim.

Profile: Covers the northern part of Belfast and part of Newtownabbey. While there are are some desirable middle-class areas here around Cavehill and Belfast Castle, it is the highly segregated and troubled working class estates that characterise it. Belfast North covers much of the dividing line between catholic and protestant communities in Belfast and has several peace lines dividing it. Here we find the northern part of the Shankill, the catholic enclave of Ardoyne and various locations that have become infamous flashpoints such as marches down the Crumlin Road and the 2001 stand off at Holy Cross Primary School.

Belfast North has only a narrow protestant majority, in the last few elections the unionist vote has been around 52% and the nationalist vote around 46%. In practice has always been a safely unionist seat thanks to a relatively even split amongst the nationalist vote. Until 2001 it was held by the Ulster Unionists and not contested by the DUP as part of an electoral pact. In 2001 the DUP contested the seat and delivered a crushing defeat to the UUP. Returns 2 DUP, 2 Sinn Fein, 1 SDLP and 1 UUP to the assembly.

The seat provided the only MP ever for the Alliance party – after the UUP withdrew from the Conservative whip in 1972 the MP for North Belfast, Stratton Mills, refused to go with them and remained a Conservative MP for a year before joining the alliance in 1973, he did not contest the seat in 1974.

portraitCurrent MP: Nigel Dodds (DUP) born 1958, Derry. Educated at Portora Royal School and Cambridge University. Barrister. First elected as MP for North Belfast in 2001.

Candidates:
portraitGerry Kelly (Sinn Fein) born 1953, Belfast. Educated at St Peter’s Secondary. Former IRA volunteer, sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to cause explosions over two car bombs in central London in 1973. Released from prison in 1989. MLA for Belfast North since 1998. Contested Belfast North 1997, 2001, 2005.
portraitNigel Dodds (DUP) born 1958, Derry. Educated at Portora Royal School and Cambridge University. Barrister. First elected as MP for North Belfast in 2001.
portraitFred Cobain (UCUNF) Belfast councillor from 1985-2001. MLA for North Belfast. Contested Belfast West 1992, Belfast North 2005 for the Ulster Unionists. Awarded the MBE in 2007.
portraitAlban Maguinness (SDLP)
portraitWilliam Webb (Alliance)
portraitMartin McAuley (Independent)

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide