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#541798
First by election of the current Parliament after the resignation of the then MP Barry McElduff of Sinn Fein back in January this year. Given Sinn Fein's abstentionist stance at Westminster, it's taken a while for a by-election to be set and it's coming this Thursday.

Usually the first by-election would attract considerable attention especially in the current climate but given the location and demographic of West Tyrone along with who held the seat, it's been fairly low key even within the constituency.

Five candidates are standing, Órfhlaith Begley (Sinn Fein), Thomas Buchanan (DUP), Stephen Donnelly (Alliance), Daniel McCrossan (SDLP) and Chris Smyth (UUP). Buchanan and McCrossan are both elected MLA's for West Tyrone while Smyth is a sitting councillor on Fermanagh & Omagh DC. This is Begley's first time standing for elective office while Donnelly is running his sixth election campaign and he's only 23!

In fact four of the five candidates are under 30 years old!

Impossible to see anything other than a comfortable Sinn Fein win. McElduff was elected last year with over 50% of the vote and a margin of over 10k. Going by the demographics and past results, the constituency is largely nationalist/republican and unless McCrossan put in a very serious challenge which could turn it into a three way with the DUP, which isn't happening, then Begley will walk this though probably with a slightly reduced majority on a lower than usual turnout. Nothing will change in the Commons with respect to the slim majority May has with her C&S agreement with the DUP.

West Tyrone by-election: Big issues on the doorsteps - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43949660
West Tyrone by-election candidates list - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-i ... s-43751656
Wikipedia - West Tyrone by-election, 2018 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Tyro ... tion,_2018
Wikipedia - West Tyrone UK Parliament Constituency - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Tyro ... stituency)
#541813
Begley will walk it, surely. Further continuation of SF policy of putting younger, educated, predominantly female faces in any place they can.

If someone in SF really wanted to shit the tories up, though, they'd withdraw their candidate and endorse McCrossan. I think if they were of the opinion Labour or HM Opposition were up to snuff it'd be getting some serious consideration, because I don't doubt it's a scenario they've gamed out.
#541976
MisterMuncher wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:32 pm
If someone in SF really wanted to shit the tories up, though, they'd withdraw their candidate and endorse McCrossan. I think if they were of the opinion Labour or HM Opposition were up to snuff it'd be getting some serious consideration, because I don't doubt it's a scenario they've gamed out.
Would not happen. Definitely not. McCrossan and the local Shinners have a mutual loathing of each other. In fact loathing might not be a strong enough word.

Anyhoo, polls have now closed though not without incident.
Earlier, police arrested a man on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent following an incident at a polling station in Greencastle.

It happened at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School at about 13:00 BST.

It is understood after handing over his ballot paper, the man produced what appeared to be a handgun.

He then left the polling station and staff contacted the police.

It is understood members of the public were casting ballots at the time but that they were unaware of what was happening and no-one was harmed.

A 59-year-old man remains in police custody.

Chief Electoral Officer Virginia McVea visited the polling station shortly after the incident to hear the details of what happened directly from the staff who witnessed it.

She told the BBC she was very impressed with how they conducted themselves, saying that that they "remained calm throughout" and "were mindful of other people in the room at the time".

She added that voting at the polling station has not been interrupted.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43983518

Dunno if I'll be up at the time of the declaration, in any case it would be a major shock if Begley/SF don't win it comfortably. The only thing that might affect her winning margin would be on the issue of abortion especially given the upcoming referendum in the south to come shortly.
#541981
More a note on general strategy than a specific case, really, but there's deep antipathy around between the nationalist sub-tribes in a lot of places.

All I know is if I was in Michelle's shoes, and there was a sniff of a GE about, I'd certainly be loudly suggesting such a ploy, if only to see exactly how purple in the face Arlene Foster could get.
#541991
As expected, Begley won. Turnout was 55% compared to 68% last year.

Begley (Sinn Fein) - 16,346 : 46.7% -4%
Buchanan (DUP) - 8,390 : 23.9% -3%
McCrossan (SDLP) - 6,254 : 17.9% +4.9%
Smyth (UUP) - 2,909 : 8.3% +3.2%
Donnelly (Alliance) - 1,130 : 3.2% +0.9%

Even with the drop in turnout SF dropped some 5,700 votes with the DUP dropping 3,300. Margin down from 10,342 to 7,956 though that's only a swing of 0.5%. SDLP, UUP & Alliance all gained more votes compared to 2017 and hence higher vote shares, none of them I think will be too disappointed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43983518
The Northern Irish thread

Ooof. That's pretty big.

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