Belfast East

Belfast East First Minister Peter Robinson has held this seat since 1979 and it is now clear that he will stand again. Coverage of his wife’s financial dealings and the related police investigation may, though, sway his dedicated voters towards the new UCUNF candidate Trevor Ringland or the more hard-line TUV candidate, David Vance.

This will be the TUV’s first time running in the constituency and Vance, former deputy leader of the UKUP, will be seeking the votes from those who have become disillusioned with Robinson.

Reg Empey, who came in second after Robinson in the 2005 and 1997 general elections, has stepped aside. This is Ringland’s first foray into politics and like other ‘high-profile’ candidates vying for a seat in this election, he hopes his moderate reputation will make him more amenable to voters.

Alliance has polled well in the constituency in the past (with 15,066 votes in 1979 and 10,650 in 1992). However, since the 1997 election, they have declined steadily from 9,288 to 3,746. Their candidate, the current Mayor of Belfast Naomi Long, experienced an increase of 1,837 votes in the 2007 Assembly elections, so she will be more hopeful for the forthcoming Westminster election.

Sinn Féin has never performed particularly well in the heartland of working-class Protestantism. With a minority of nationalists situated in the Short Strand, Niall Ó Donnghaile, an Assembly press officer and local representative, who got 1,055 votes in the 2007 Assembly elections, will be their candidate.

East Belfast will gain Dundonald and its surrounding five wards from Strangford and will lose Hillfoot and Wynchurch to Belfast South.

Name Votes %
Peter Robinson (DUP) 15,152 49.1
Reg Empey (UUP) 9,275 30.1
Naomi Long (Alliance) 3,746 12.2
Deborah Devenny (SF) 1,029 3.3
Mary Muldoon (SDLP) 844 2.7
Alan Greer (Con) 434 1.4
Joseph Bell
(Workers Party)
179 0.6
Lynda Gilby
(Vote For Yourself)
172 0.6
DUP majority 5,877  
Turnout 31,019 58.6

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