THE POLLS HAVE opened in the by-election being held for the seat in the British House of Commons that was vacated by the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, last year.
McGuinness resigned the Mid-Ulster seat last December in line with Sinn Féin’s commitment to end the practice of “double jobbing” where its representatives hold seats in both the Northern Assembly and the House of Commons in Westminster.
He had held the seat – but abided by the Sinn Féin policy of abstention from Westminster – since 1997 with four candidates now vying to replace him including his party colleague Francie Molloy.
The other candidates are the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)’s Patsy McGlone, the Unionist Nigel Lutton and Eric Bullick of the Alliance Party.
Polls stay open until 10pm tonight after which counting will get under way with a result expected in the early hours of Friday morning.