Mid Ulster (UK Parliament constituency)


Mid Ulster (UK Parliament constituency)

Coordinates: 54°43′19″N 6°56′28″W / 54.722°N 6.941°W / 54.722; -6.941

Mid Ulster
County constituency
MidUlsterConstituency.svg
Mid Ulster shown within Northern Ireland
Created: 1950
MP: Martin McGuinness
Party: Sinn Féin
Type: House of Commons
Districts: Cookstown, Magherafelt, Dungannon and South Tyrone
EP constituency: Northern Ireland

Mid Ulster is a Parliamentary Constituency in the British House of Commons.

Contents

Boundaries

The constituency was created in 1950 when the old two-seat constituency of Fermanagh and Tyrone was abolished as part of the final move to single member seats. Originally the seat primarily consisted of the northern, eastern and western parts of County Tyrone, with the south included in Fermanagh & South Tyrone. Of the post 1973 districts, it contained all of Omagh and Cookstown and part of Strabane and Magherafelt.

In boundary changes proposed by a review in 1995, the seat was split in two, with the name retained by the eastern half, even though it contained only 30% of the old seat. The western half became the nucleus of the new West Tyrone constituency. The new Mid Ulster also gained areas from East Londonderry and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, taking it deeper into County Londonderry.

Following their most recent review of parliamentary boundaries in Northern Ireland, the Boundary Commission have made no changes to Mid Ulster. The electoral areas are confirmed as below, through the passing of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Constituencies Order[1] in 2008.

  • The entire districts of Cookstown, and Magherafelt
  • From Dungannon and South Tyrone district; Altmore, Coalisland North, Coalisland South, Coalisland West and Newmills, Donaghmore, and Washing Bay

History

For the history of the constituency prior to 1950, see Fermanagh and Tyrone (UK Parliament constituency).

In both its incarnations, Mid Ulster has seen a precarious balance between unionist and nationalist voters, though in recent years the nationalists have advanced significantly to be in a clear majority. Many elections have seen a candidate from one community triumph due to candidates from the other community splitting the vote.

The seat was initially won by the Irish Nationalist Party in 1950 and 1951 then by Sinn Féin in 1955. However the Sinn Féin Member of Parliament (MP) was unseated on petition on the basis that his Irish Republican Army (IRA) convictions made him ineligible, and in subsequent by-elections the seat was won by the Ulster Unionists.

In a by-election in 1969, the seat was won by Bernadette Devlin standing as an independent socialist nationalist on the "Unity" ticket which sought to unite nationalist voters behind a single candidate. At the age of 21, Devlin was the youngest person ever elected to the House of Commons in the era of universal suffrage. The by-election saw a 91.5% turnout, a record for any UK by-election.

Devlin held her seat in the 1970 general election but generated controversy when she had a child out of wedlock as well as for her fierce anti-clericalism. The Social Democratic and Labour Party stood a candidate against her in the February 1974 general election and the nationalist vote was strongly divided, allowing John Dunlop of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party to win with the support of the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.

Dunlop held his seat for the next nine years, though in 1975 he was part of a large section of Vanguard that broke away to form the short lived United Ulster Unionist Party. He held his seat in 1979 only due to a Unionist pact. He polled poorly in the 1982 Assembly election taking a dismal 2.8% of the vote. Consequently, in 1983 he did not stand again and the following year the UUUP was wound up.

The 1983 general election saw fierce contest for the seat, with the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin all polling strongly. The winner was the DUP's William McCrea, albeit by the narrow majority of just 78 over Sinn Féin's Danny Morrison. In general elections from then to 2005 the Ulster Unionists did not contest the seat.

Following the boundary changes, McCrea contested the new Mid Ulster in 1997 but by now Sinn Féin had established itself as the best party to outpoll a unionist and so drew votes from the SDLP, resulting in Martin McGuinness winning. He has held the seat to date. During the 2001 General Election, Mid-Ulster had the highest turnout in any constituency in the United Kingdom.

Members of Parliament

Election Member Party Notes
1950 Anthony Mulvey Independent Republican  
1951 Michael O'Neill Independent Republican  
1955 Tom Mitchell Sinn Féin Disqualified by resolution of the House of Commons, 18 July 1955
August 1955 Tom Mitchell Sinn Féin Election declared undue on petition; Return amended, 25 October 1955
  Charles Beattie Ulster Unionist Declared duly elected on petition; disqualified by resolution of the House of Commons, 7 February 1956
1956 George Forrest Independent Unionist
Ulster Unionist Died, 10 December 1968
1969 Bernadette Devlin Unity, later Independent Socialist
1970 Independent Socialist Became Independent Socialist in October 1970
Feb 1974 John Dunlop Vanguard Progressive Unionist
1975 United Ulster Unionist Left Vanguard and joined the United Ulster Unionist Party, 11 October 1975
1983 William McCrea Democratic Unionist  
1997 Martin McGuinness Sinn Féin  

Elections

Elections in the 2010s

General Election 2010: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Martin McGuinness 21,239 52.0 +2.4
Democratic Unionist Ian McCrea 5,876 14.4 -9.1
SDLP Tony Quinn 5,826 14.3 -3.1
Conservatives and Unionists Sandra Overend 4,509 11.0 +0.3
Traditional Unionist Voice Walter Millar 2,995 7.3 N/A
Alliance Ian Butler 397 1.0 N/A
Majority 15,363 37.6 +13.4
Turnout 40,842 63.2 -10.0
Sinn Féin hold Swing +5.8

Elections in the 2000s

General Election 2005: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Martin McGuinness 21,641 47.6 -3.5
Democratic Unionist Ian McCrea 10,665 23.5 -7.6
SDLP Patsy McGlone 7,922 17.4 +0.6
Ulster Unionist Billy Armstrong 4,853 10.7 +10.7
Workers' Party Francis Donnelly 345 0.8 -0.2
Majority 10,976 24.2
Turnout 45,426 73.2 -8.1
Sinn Féin hold Swing +2.1
General Election 2001: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Martin McGuinness 25,502 51.1 +11.0
Democratic Unionist Ian McCrea 15,549 31.1 -5.2
SDLP Eilish Haughey 8,376 16.8 -5.3
Workers' Party Francie Donnelly 509 1.0 +0.5
Majority 9,953 20.0
Turnout 49,936 81.3 -4.8
Sinn Féin hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s

General Election 1997: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Martin McGuinness 20,294 40.1
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 18,411 36.3
SDLP Denis Haughey 11,205 22.1
Alliance Ephrem Bogues 460 0.9
Workers' Party Marian Donnelly 238 0.5
Natural Law Maureen Murray 61 0.1
Majority 1,883
Turnout 86.1
Sinn Féin gain from Democratic Unionist Swing
1992 Notional Results: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 19,274 41.0
SDLP Denis Haughey 14,360 30.6
Sinn Féin Barry McElduff 11,340 24.4
Alliance Ann Gormley 1,229 2.6
Others 779 1.7
Majority 4,914 10.5
Turnout 7
Democratic Unionist hold Swing

Between 1992 and 1996 there were significant boundary changes, creating the new seat of West Tyrone. This had a huge knock on effect on Mid Ulster, which lost all its areas in Omagh and Strabane district councils, and gained the Torrent LGD in Dungannon from Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and the parts of Magherafelt District Council previously in East Londonderry. Therefore the implied 1992 election results are very different from the actual ones and are displayed above.

General Election 1992: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 23,181 42.3
SDLP Denis Haughey 16,994 31.0
Sinn Féin Barry McElduff 10,248 18.7
Alliance Ann Gormley 1,506 2.8
Labour and Trade Union Harry Hutchinson 389 0.7
Workers' Party Tommy Owens 285 0.5
Natural Law James Anderson 164 0.3
Majority 6,187 11.3
Turnout 79.3
Democratic Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1980s

General Election 1987: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 23,004 44.2
SDLP Denis Haughey 13,644 26.2
Sinn Féin Sean Begley 12,449 23.9
Alliance Paddy Bogan 1,846 3.5
Workers' Party Paddy Joe McLean 1,133 2.2
Majority 9,360 18.0
Turnout 77.4
Democratic Unionist hold Swing
Mid Ulster by-election, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 23,695
Sinn Féin Danny Morrisson 13,998
SDLP Adrian Colton 13,021
Workers' Party Tommy Owens 691
Majority 6,967
Turnout
Democratic Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1983: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Unionist William McCrea 16,174 30.0
Sinn Féin Danny Morrison 16,096 29.9
SDLP Denis Haughey 12,044 22.4
Ulster Unionist William Thompson 7,066 13.1
Alliance Aidan Logan 1,735 3.2
Workers' Party Tommy Owens 766 1.4
Majority 78 0.1
Turnout 84.3
Democratic Unionist gain from United Ulster Unionist Swing

Elections in the 1970s

General Election 1979: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Ulster Unionist John Dunlop 29,249 44.7
SDLP Paddy Duffy 19,266 29.4
Irish Independence Patrick Fahy 12,055 19.9
Alliance Aidan Lagan 3,481 5.3
Republican Clubs Francie Donnelly 1,414 2.2
Majority 9,983 15.3
Turnout 80.4
United Ulster Unionist gain from Vanguard Swing
General Election October 1974: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Vanguard John Dunlop 30,552 47.4
SDLP Ivan Cooper 25,885 40.1
Republican Clubs Francie Donnelly 8,091 12.5
Majority 4,667 7.2
Turnout 79.0
Vanguard hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Vanguard John Dunlop 26,004 39.0
SDLP Ivan Cooper 19,372 29.1
Independent Socialist Bernadette McAliskey 16,672 25.0
Pro-Assembly Unionist Neville Thornton 4,633 7.0
Majority 6,632 10.0
Turnout 79.3
Vanguard gain from Unity Swing
General Election 1970: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unity Bernadette Devlin 37,739 53.5
Ulster Unionist Neville Thornton 31,810 45.1
Independent Michael Cunningham 771 1.1
National Socialist Phelim O'Neill 198 0.3
Majority 5,929 8.4
Turnout 90.9
Unity gain from Ulster Unionist Swing

Elections in the 1960s

Mid Ulster by-election, 1969
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unity Bernadette Devlin 33,648 53.3 N/A
Ulster Unionist Anna Forrest 29,437 46.7 - 5.6
Majority 4,211 6.7 + 2.2
Turnout 63,085 91.5 + 7.6
Unity gain from Ulster Unionist Swing
General Election 1966: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Ulster Unionist George Forrest 29,728 52.3
Independent Republican Tom Mitchell 27,168 47.8
Majority 2,560 4.5
Turnout 83.9
Ulster Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1964: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Ulster Unionist George Forrest 29,715 51.6
Independent Republican Tom Mitchell 22,810 39.6
Labour (NI) Patrick McGarvey 5,053 8.8
Majority 6,905 12.0
Turnout 85.1
Ulster Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s

General Election 1959: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Ulster Unionist George Forrest 33,093 70.0
Sinn Féin Tom Mitchell 14,170 30.0
Majority 18,923 40.0
Turnout 71.0
Ulster Unionist hold Swing
Mid Ulster by-election, 1956
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Unionist George Forrest 28,605 48.36
Sinn Féin Tom Mitchell 24,124 40.78
Anti-Partition Michael O'Neill 6,421 10.86
Majority 4,481 7.58
Turnout 59,150 88.43
Independent Unionist gain from Sinn Féin Swing
Mid Ulster by-election, 1955
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Tom Mitchell 30,392
Ulster Unionist Charles Beattie 29,586
Majority 806
Turnout
Sinn Féin hold Swing

The seat was awarded to Beattie on petition on the grounds that Mitchell's conviction as a felon made him ineligible to sit in Parliament. However, Beattie in turn was also found ineligible to sit due to holding an office of profit under the crown, triggering a further by-election.

General Election 1955: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Sinn Féin Tom Mitchell 29,737 50.2
Ulster Unionist Charles Beattie 29,477 49.8
Majority 260 0.4
Turnout 88.6
Sinn Féin gain from Independent Republican Swing

Mitchell was subsequently unseated upon petition, on the grounds that his terrorist convictions made him ineligible to sit in Parliament.

General Election 1951: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Republican Michael O'Neill 33,097 52.7
Ulster Unionist John Shearer 29,701 47.3
Majority 3,396 5.4
Turnout 91.8
Independent Republican hold Swing
General Election 1950: Mid Ulster
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Republican Anthony Mulvey 33,023 52.6
Ulster Unionist John Shearer 29,721 47.4
Majority 3,302 5.2
Turnout 91.6
Independent Republican hold Swing

References

Sources

See also


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