LOYALIST VOTE – DECIDING FACTOR
With the Westminster Elections in May 2015 vast approaching I wish to take a look at the two major constituencies of North & East Belfast and detail how the Progressive Unionist Loyalist Vote could be the deciding factor to the winning of these constituencies.
Belfast North Westminster 2010 Belfast North Council 2014
Votes PUP (FP) Votes in DEA
DUP Nigel Dodds 14,812 Crumlin 456
S/F Gerry Kelly 12,588 Woodvale 456
SDLP Alban Maginness 4544 Oldpark 774
UUP Fred Cobain 2837 Castle 657
All Billy Well 1809 Macedon 503
Total Vote 36,590 Total PUP Vote 2,846
Belfast East Westminster 2010 Belfast East Council 2014
Votes PUP (FP) Votes in DEA
All Naomi Long 12,839 Titanic 1150
DUP Peter Robinson 11,306 Ormiston 720
UUP Trevor Ringland 7305 Lisnasharragh 630
TUV David Vance 1856 Castlereagh E 492
S/F Niall O’Donnaghalie 817
SDLP Mary Muldoon 365
Total Vote 34,488 Total PUP Vote 2,992
As you can see from the above figures the PUP holds 3K of votes in both constituencies. This vote could be the deciding factor to the winning of both seats.
Billy Hutchinson Leader of the PUP elected to Belfast City Council 22 May 2014
2 District Electoral Areas (DEAs) of his Court Ward fall within the North Belfast Westminster and Northern Ireland Assembly Constituency.
These Electoral Constituency Area for both North and East Belfast Westminster Elections shall also be used in the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly Elections to elect 5 MLAs per constituency. With PR Voting System for the Assembly Elections, having a base vote of 3K could be a good platform to push and gain the last seat in each constituency, could a deal be done between the DUP/PUP to enhance that position and thus put Loyalist Representation back into the Northern Ireland Assembly?
One would say very highly unlikely given the fractured relationship between Unionism at the present time over the North Belfast Parades Panel Fallout.
It would entail the DUP dropping out a candidate in both constituencies and running 2 candidates in East Belfast with a return of 2 DUP, 1 UUP, 1 PUP, 1 Alliance and running 1 candidate in North Belfast with a return of 1 DUP and Either 1 UUP or 1 PUP It will be a dog fight for the last MLA in this constituency between Unionism and Nationalism, it could go either way.
Again I can’t see the DUP excepting such a proposition as they will believe that East Belfast shall return 3 DUP and North Belfast 2 DUP MLA’s
However another option maybe for both shades of Loyalism to work together to try and increase the 3K First Preference Votes closer to 5K and the quota margin required for a candidate to be elected. The PUP and UPRG have a very strong working relationship with each other at the Twaddell Camp Protest in North Belfast.
The UPRG ran a very successful public campaign of Single Transferable Vote (STV) informing supporters to transfer their vote right down the voting paper to all Unionist candidates of their choice in 2014 Council and European Elections.
They may decide that it is more beneficial to support the PUP Candidate in both North and East Belfast in the interests of Loyalism and representation in the Assembly.