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DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds loses his seat on seismic night for Northern Ireland politics

2 min read

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has lost his Commons seat as the political map in Northern Ireland was redrawn.

In a major blow for his party, Mr Dodds was defeated in the North Belfast seat he had held since 2001.

The contest in the constituency effectively became a straight shoot-out between the DUP and Sinn Fein after the withdrawal of the Ulster Unionist Party and SDLP from the seat.

His defeat was confirmed as it emerged that nationalist MPs could end up outnumbering unionist ones for the first time in Northern Ireland's history.

Earlier, the DUP had failed in its attempt to win North Down, the seat which had been represented by the independent MP Sylvia Hermon.

The Alliance Party's Stephen Farry won the seat by nearly 3,000 votes from the DUP's Alex Easton.

That means the the DUP is set to see its representation at Westminster fall from 10 to eight.

With the SDLP on course to win two seats and Sinn Fein seven, it means unionist parties will only have eight MPs at Westminster.

Mr Dodds's defeat marks a dramatic fall in the DUP's fortunes after they helped prop up Theresa May's minority Tory government in the wake of the 2017 election.

That gave the party a huge amount of leverage, and saw the Government agree to give Northern Ireland an extra billion pounds to spend on public services.

However, the DUP split from Mrs May over her Brexit deal, and also refused to back Boris Johnson's re-worked agreement because it will lead to a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.

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