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Lagan Valley (constituency)
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Lagan Valley (constituency)

Lagan Valley is a Parliamentary Constituency in the House of Commons and also an Assembly constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Table of contents
1 Boundaries
2 Westminster elections
3 Assembly and Forum elections
4 Politics and History of the constituency


The seat was created in boundary changes in 1983, as part of an expansion of Northern Ireland's constituencies from 12 to 17, and was predominantly made up from parts of South Antrim and North Down. In further revisions in 1995 it lost some areas to both West Belfast and Strangford. Currently the constituency contains most of Lisburn district and part of Banbridge district.

Proposed Boundary changes

At the time of writing the Boundary Commission has published provisional recommendations for modifying the boundaries of constituencies in Northern Ireland. It is proposed to transfer one part of Lagan Valley to West Belfast and one part of Upper Bann to Lagan Valley. The changes will be subject to a series of consultations and it remains to be seen whether these proposals will be upheld.

Westminster elections

The Member of Parliament since 1997 is Jeffrey Donaldson who was elected as a member of the Ulster Unionist Party but switched to the Democratic Unionist Party in 2004. He succeeded James Molyneaux who had represented the seat for the UUP since the 1983 general election and previously sat for the old South Antrim constituency which covered much of the same area.

Assembly and Forum elections

The six MLAs for the consituency elected in the 2003 election are:

Changes 2003 - present

In the 1998 election the six MLAs elected were:

Changes 1998-2003

In the 1996 election to the Northern Ireland Peace Forum, 5 Forum members were elected from Lagan Valley. They were as follows:

Politics and History of the constituency

For the history of the equivalent constituencies prior to 1950 please see Antrim (constituency) and Down (constituency) and from 1950 until 1983, please see South Antrim (constituency) and North Down (constituency).

The constituency is overwhelming unionist and has traditionally had one of the highest votes for the Ulster Unionist Party in the entirity of Northern Ireland, due in part to the personal popularity of James Molyneaux. Since his retirement in 1997 the seat has been represented by Jeffrey Donaldson who many initially saw as the rising star of the UUP. However Donaldson has had a fractious relationship with his party which at times has been reflected in the election results. In the 1998 Assembly election he was controversially and publicly blocked from standing. In that election the UUP lost votes to many fringe Unionist parties. In the 2001 general election the votes for the UUP, Democratic Unionist Party and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland all remained remarkably steady compared to significant shifts elsewhere in the province. Then in the 2003 Assembly election Donaldson was allowed to stand, despite at this point having resigned the UUP whip at Westminster. The UUP had their best result in the election, in part due to no candidate from either the UK Unionist Party or Northern Ireland Unionist Party defending one of the seats won in 1998. Donaldson's fractious relations with the UUP continued and the following month he, together with fellow assembly member Norah Beare, left the party and joined the Democratic Unionist Party.

How the defections of Donaldson and Beare will impact on the next general election is difficult to say as it is not clear whether the previous election results have been because of the personal popularity of Donaldson, the collapse of smaller unionist parties or weak campaigning by the Democratic Unionist Party. It remains to be seen if the constituency will follow Donaldson in changing parties.