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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.

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)

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75 Responses to “North Belfast”

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  1. Prediction:- DUP (HOLD)

  2. 12-page tabloid delivered from Sinn Féin at some point today. Haven’t had time to do more than glance at it, but front page story is ramping their chances of winning. They do about 4 tabloids a year here.

  3. I hear that SF have been extremely busy on the ground here but still don’t feel that this will be enough for them this time around. Dodds has managed to avoid much of the fall out from the expenses scandal that may impact other DUP seats, and additinally with no TUV candidate, I expect him to hold. Cobain would do well to prevent any further slippage which may endanger his assemly seat should it continue to plummet.
    DUP HOLD 2000

  4. I haven’t posted a proper prediction of the result here, so, just to say I agree with Sammy’s conclusion of a 3,000 DUP majority. The Belfast Telegraph poll which (on a far too small sample) predicts a close race between them and SF will help a little with pushing unionist voters to the DUP.

  5. prediction now – at the next election, this will go to Sinn Fein

  6. That was a bit closer than I thought it will be.

  7. Nigel Dodds is now the DUP Westminster leader as a result of Peter Robinson’s defeat in Belfast East

  8. It seems that the boundary changes have, as expected, increased the Protestant majority in this seat, and it’s likely to be a while before the DUP gets close to losing here now.

  9. I am guessing the question Dodds asked at PMQs was by virtue of being DUP leader in the Commons. Can anybody confirm/deny/clarify?

  10. He is the leader of the second biggest opposition party, so it appears he has filled Nick Clegg’s old role.

    DUP ought to join the government benches.

  11. Did the DUP leader get occasional extra opportunities at questions at PMQs before?

  12. No, I don’t think so Ben.

  13. Why is Water Works ward in this constituency so called?

  14. Maybe the losing local candidates cry copiously?

  15. LOL at Barnaby

  16. Waterworks is named after the park at the heart of the ward which provided the city’s water supply during the 19th century. There’s no such area as Waterworks instead it’s an amalgam of (nationalist) areas in the Lower Antrim Road and Lower Cliftonville Road – Newington, The Bone etc

  17. If the coalition get their way and the number of seats gets reduced then this seat will become much safer for Dodds. To bring it up to the new quota it will have to expand further into Newtownabbey beyond Glengormley into places which are, by and large, solidly protestant territory. I have the seat gaining Mallusk, Carnmoney, Mossley, Ballyhenry, Ballyduff and Hawthorne ward while shedding one ward to West Belfast. That should more than double Dodds majority here.

  18. I have it as one of the seats most likley to disappear. I can’t see there still being four Belfast seats with a reduction in the total of NI to 15 or 16 (Belfast itself would barely qualify for more than two seats). I’d see it more likely that places like Ardoyne and New Lodge get moved into Belfast West and most of the rest merging with parts of Belfast East with the Newtownabbey wards going back into one or other of the Antrim seats

  19. Pete, that makes zero sense and is the equivalent of the cross Mersey constituency that the commission recommended in Liverpool/Wirral last time. The only North Belfast and East Belfast wards that border each other are Duncairn and Island. All the long eastern part of Duncairn is an uninhabited industrial zone/motorway. The inhabited bit lies west of a line drawn from the north east corner of the New Lodge ward to the south east corner of the Fortwilliam ward. Ditto with the Island ward, the north west bit of which is uninhabited. Besides being a mile and a half apart, the residential areas would only be connected by a single bridge across the river lagan. Such a proposal will never be made by the boundary commission, instead they’ll likely revisit their 1995 proposal (South gets split between East and West Belfast.)

  20. The main story here was the DUP taking the UUP’s Assembly seat . In truth, the UUP have always been weak here, usually elected on the last count, so it’s not a huge surprise.

    SF held their two seats easily and although they are still a little way off a third, Magee made it to the fifth count before elimination. The SDLP also held their seat.

    The Alliance vote shot up, more than quadrupling from 2007. It still wasn’t enough for a seat, but if Long and the party’s South and East Belfast MLAs continue to impress, they might take a seat next time round.

  21. The Boundary Commission proposals backed Valenciano’s view of the world over Pete Whitehead’s. In the end, it was the least changed of the Belfast seats, although both Nigel Dodds and the residents of the Shankill may be rejoicing in transferring Glencairn, Highfield and Shankill wards from West Belfast.

    My calculations of the 2010 results based on the proposed boundaries can be found here:

  22. Which electoral areas from the Borough of Newtownabbey does this constituency take in? I know it takes all of the City of Belfast electoral areas of Castle and Oldpark, and part of Court.

  23. It takes most of the Antrim Line (5 of 7 wards) and Macedon (5 of 6 wards).
    From Antrim Line the wards of Ballyhenry, Collinbridge, Glebe, Glengormley and HIghtown
    From Macedon the wards of Abbey, Coole, Dunanney, Valley and Whitehouse.
    This latter area is solidly Loyalist and largely consists of local authority housing estates. It was the last place I think to have elected councillors from the NI Labour party.
    The wards from Antrim Line are much more mixed both socially and in community terms

  24. The Boundary changes have failed to get parliamentary approval so next election will be on the same boundaries as 2010.

    The 2011 census shows people with catholic backgrounds outnumber protestant 48.6% v 42.3% in the Belfast council area.

    In the 2001 census 47.2% were of catholic background v 48.6% protestant. A 3.8% swing over 10 years. These change in population will be much faster in mixed North Belfast than more uniform East or West Belfast.

    If the SDLP vote continues to fall, it is difficult to see the DUP holding in unless there is only one unionist candidate.

  25. Have St Anne’s Cathedral, Ardoyne, Belfast Castle, Sailortown and New Lodge been in this seat since 1922?

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