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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Sinn Féin's John Finucane shocks DUP with victory over Nigel Dodds in North Belfast

Nigel Dodds was defeated.

John Finucane has been elected as the MP for North Belfast.
John Finucane has been elected as the MP for North Belfast.
Image: Liam McBurney/PA

Updated Dec 13th 2019, 3:47 AM

SINN FÉIN’S JOHN Finucane has been elected MP for North Belfast, unseating DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds. 

Finucane, the current Lord Mayor of Belfast, was elected in the early hours of this morning. 

The SDLP had pulled out of the constituency to give Finucane and his remain-backing party the best chance of defeating the DUP. 

The loss of Dodds, who is the party’s leader in Westminster, is a major blow to the DUP. 

Finucane paid tribute to his father Pat Finucane, a solicitor who was murdered during the Troubles. 

“I can’t help but think of my father and where we have come from, not just as a family but as a society as well,” he said

The success for Sinn Féin in Belfast caps a good few weeks for the party. In November, the party won the by-election in Dublin Mid-West after a poor showing at the European and local elections in May. 

Sinn Féin had put poured significant effort into the constituency, with some campaigners coming from as far as Cork to back Finucane. 

“I am absolutely very disappointed, not just for North Belfast, but also for Northern Ireland,” said DUP leader Arlene Foster in response to Dodd’s defeat. 

“I think it’s clear the demography wasn’t there,” she said. “The pan-nationalist front has come to fruition again.”

Belfast South

In Belfast South, the SDLP’s Claire Hanna defeated the DUP’s Emma Little Pengelly. 

Hanna, who was tipped to win after Sinn Féin pulled out from contesting the seat, campaigned as a strong Remain voice in Westminster. 

Little Pengelly took the seat from the SDLP former leader Alasdair McDonnell at the last election in 2017 by only a few thousand votes. 

The success is a significant boost for the SDLP, which found itself without any MPs after the 2017 election. 

In Foyle, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also defeated Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion by 17,110 votes.

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