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Strangford (constituency)
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Strangford (constituency)

Strangford 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

Boundaries

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 North Down. Since further revisions in 1995 it is now made up of parts of the districts of Ards, Castlereagh and Down.

Despite the name the seat does not currently contain the town of Strangford.

Proposed Boundary changes

At the time of writing the Boundary Commission has published provisional recommendations for modifying the boundaries of constituencies in Northern Ireland. Several significant changes are proposed which will affect Strangford. It is proposed to transfer parts of Castlereagh to both East Belfast and South Belfast, whilst adding further parts of Down from South Down. The changes have raised eyebrows, particularly in Down where it is argued that natural ties are being ignored, whilst the suggestion is also in circulation to amend the anomaly of the seat not containing Strangford town and to rename it to Mid Down. 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 2001 general election is Iris Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party. She succeeded John Taylor of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Assembly 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 Strangford. They were as follows:

Politics and History of the constituency

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

The constituency is overwhelming unionist, with the combined votes for nationalist parties rarely exceeding 10%. However there have been above significnat votes for parties outside the traditional unionist block, such as the Alliance and the Conservatives, whilst the UK Unionist Party has also polled well here, challenging the two main Unionist parties. At the local level independent council candidates have polled well.

The main interest in elections has been the contest between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. Until 2001 the UUP were clearly ahead of the DUP in the Westminster elections, but elections to regional assemblies and local government were much closed. In 2001 the sitting MP John Taylor stood down and the contest to succeed him was fierce. The seat was won by Iris Robinson for the Democratic Unionist Party and the subsequent 2003 assembly election saw the DUP increase their vote further. There is scepticism as to whether the UUP can retake the seat, though the proposed boundary changes may alter matters.