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North Antrim (constituency)
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North Antrim (constituency)

North Antrim 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 Assemblies and Forum elections
4 Politics and History of the constituency

Boundaries

The seat was created in 1950 when the old Antrim two MP constituency was abolished as part of the final move to single member seats. The seat has had relatively few changes over the years and currently contains exactly the districts of Ballymena, Ballymoney and Moyle.

Proposed Boundary changes

At the time of writing the Boundary Commission has proposed alterations for the boundaries of constituencies in Northern Ireland. North Antrim currently has the largest electorate of any constituency in Northern Ireland and it is proposed to transfer the Glens in Moyle to East Antrim and rename that seat Antrim Coast & Glens. However this proposal has raised many questions, with some already arguing that the Glens have no natural ties to Jordanstown. The changes will be subject to a series of consultations and it remains to be seen whether these proposals will be upheld. If not then it is likely that some other changes will be performed.

Westminster elections

The Member of Parliament since the 1970 general election is the Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley. He was initially elected as a member of the Protestant Unionist Party but since 1971 has sat for the Democratic Unionist Party

MPs since 1950

Assemblies and Forum elections

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

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 North Antrim. They were as follows:

In 1982 elections were held for an Assembly for Northern Ireland to hold the Secretary of State to account, in the hope that this would be the first step towards restoring devolution. North Antrim elected 8 members as follows:

In 1975 elections were held to a Constitutional Convention which sought (unsuccessfully) to generate a consensus on the future of the province. The seven members elected from North Antrim were:

In 1973 elections were held to the Assembly set up under the Sunningdale Agreement. The seven members elected from North Antrim were:

Changes 1973-1974

Politics and History of the constituency

For the history of the constituency prior to 1950, see Antrim (constituency).

North Antrim is an overwhelmingly Unionist seat but the Westminster elections have been relatively uncompetitive, with one man repeatedly winning by a landslide. The Reverend Ian Richard Kyle Paisley was first elected as a Protestant Unionist in the 1970 general election. The following year that party changed to the Democratic Unionist Party and Paisley has held the seat ever since. In elections at all levels the DUP have frequently had their highest share of the vote in North Antrim and have rarely been seriously challenged.

Surprisingly there is strong evidence of a number of Catholic voters in the constituency voting for Ian Paisley, presumably because of his strong reputation for his constituency work.

There is much speculation that Ian Paisley will step down at the next or subsequent UK general election. It is widely expected that if he does then the new DUP candidate will be his son, Ian Paisley, Jr.