Fermanagh and South Tyrone (UK Parliament constituency)
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Fermanagh and South Tyrone is a
parliamentary constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) precinct, electoral area, circumscription, or electorate, is a subdivision of a larger state Sta ...
in the
British House of Commons The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona ...
. The current MP is
Michelle Gildernew Michelle Gildernew (born 28 March 1970) is an Irish Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active in both the Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also ...

Michelle Gildernew
of
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, ...

Sinn Féin
.


Boundaries

1950–1983: The county of Fermanagh, the Urban District of Dungannon, the Rural Districts of Clogher and Dungannon, and that part of the Rural District of Omagh consisting of the
District Electoral Division An electoral division (ED, ) is the smallest legally defined administrative areas in Republic of Ireland, Ireland for which small area population statistics are published from the Census. There are a total of 3,440 electoral divisions in Ireland, ...
s of Aghafad, Dervaghroy, Dromore, Drumharvey, Ecclesville, Fallaghearn,
Fintona Fintona (; ), is a village and townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland lying within the civil parish of Donacavey. Its population was calculated in the 2011 Census as 1,164. History The local area has been known to have had human activ ...
, Greenan, Killskerry, Lifford, Moorfield, Rahoney, Seskinore, Tattymoyle and Trillick. 1983–1997: The District of Fermanagh, and the District of Dungannon. 1997–present: The District of Fermanagh, and the District of Dungannon wards of Augher, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Ballysaggart, Benburb, Caledon, Castlecaulfield, Clogher, Coolhill, Drumglass, Fivemiletown, Killyman, Killymeal, Moy, Moygashel, and Mullaghmore. The constituency was created in 1950 when the old Fermanagh and Tyrone two-member constituency was abolished as part of the final move to single-member seats. As the name implies, it includes all of
County Fermanagh County Fermanagh ( ; ) is one of the thirty-two Counties of Ireland, counties of Ireland, one of the six Counties of Northern Ireland, counties of Northern Ireland and one of the nine counties of Ulster. The county covers an area of 1,691 k ...

County Fermanagh
and the southern part of
County Tyrone County Tyrone (; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the ...

County Tyrone
. Of the post-1973 districts, it contained all of
Fermanagh Fermanagh ( ga, Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic political and social order, and associated culture, that existed in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Uls ...
, and
Dungannon and South Tyrone Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council ( ga, Comhairle Buirge Dhún Geanainn agus Thír Eoghain Theas, Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots: ''Rathgannon an Sooth Owenslanngh Cooncil'') was a local council in Northern Ireland. It merged with C ...
. In boundary changes resulting from a review in 1995, however, a section of
Dungannon and South Tyrone Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council ( ga, Comhairle Buirge Dhún Geanainn agus Thír Eoghain Theas, Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots: ''Rathgannon an Sooth Owenslanngh Cooncil'') was a local council in Northern Ireland. It merged with C ...
(then called Dungannon) district, around the town of Coalisland, was transferred to the Mid Ulster (UK Parliament constituency), Mid Ulster constituency.


History

For the history of the constituency prior to 1950, see Fermanagh and Tyrone. Throughout the existence of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, there has been a rough balance between Unionists (Ireland), unionist and Irish nationalism, nationalist voters, though in recent years the nationalists have had a slight majority. Many elections have seen a candidate from one community triumph due to multiple candidates from the other community splitting the vote. Perhaps because of this balance between the communities, Fermanagh and South Tyrone has repeatedly had the highest turn-out (and the smallest winning margin) of any constituency in Northern Ireland. The seat was won by the Nationalist Party (Northern Ireland), Nationalist Party in 1950 United Kingdom general election, 1950 and 1951 United Kingdom general election, 1951, the closely contested 1951 election seeing a 93.4% turnout – a UK record for any election. In 1955 United Kingdom general election, 1955 the constituency was won by Philip Clarke (politician), Philip Clarke of
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, ...

Sinn Féin
, but he was unseated on election petition, petition on the basis that his criminal conviction (for Irish Republican Army (1922-1969), Irish Republican Army activity) made him ineligible. Instead, the seat was awarded to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) candidate. In 1970 United Kingdom general election, 1970 the seat was won by Frank McManus (Irish politician), Frank McManus, standing on the "Unity (Northern Ireland), Unity" ticket that sought to unite nationalist voters behind a single candidate. In the February 1974 United Kingdom general election, February 1974 general election, however, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) contested the seat, dividing the nationalist vote and allowing Harry West of the UUP to win with the support of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. In the October 1974 United Kingdom general election, October 1974 general election a nationalist pact was agreed and Frank Maguire (politician), Frank Maguire won, standing as an Independent Republican (Ireland), Independent Republican. He retained his seat in the 1979 United Kingdom general election, 1979 general election, when both the unionist and nationalist votes were split, the former by the intervention of Ernest Baird, leader of the short-lived United Ulster Unionist Party, and the latter by Austin Currie, who defied the official SDLP decision to not contest the seat. Maguire died in early 1981. The April 1981 Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election, ensuing by-election took place amidst the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike. As part of the campaign for the five demands of the prisoners, the Provisional Irish Republican Army Officer Commanding in the Maze (HM Prison), Maze prison, Bobby Sands, was nominated as an Anti-H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate. Harry West stood for the UUP, but no other candidates contested the by-election. On 9 April 1981, Sands won with 30,492 votes against 29,046 for West. 26 days later Sands died on hunger strike. Speedy legislation barred prisoners serving a sentence of 12 months or longer from standing for Parliament, and so in the new by-election Sands' agent Owen Carron stood as a "Proxy Political Prisoner". The UUP nominated Ken Maginnis. The August 1981 Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election, second by-election in August was also contested by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Workers' Party of Ireland, Workers' Party Republican Clubs, a candidate standing on a label of General Amnesty and another as The Peace Lover. The turn-out was even higher, with most of the additional votes going to the additional parties standing, and Carron was elected. In 1982 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the 1982 election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, Carron headed the Sinn Féin slate for the constituency and was elected. Republicans suffered a reversal in the 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983 general election, when the SDLP contested the seat. Maginnis won and held the seat for the UUP for the next eighteen years until he retired. By this point boundary changes had resulted in a broad 50:50 balance between unionists and nationalists and it was expected that a single unionist candidate would hold the seat in the 2001 United Kingdom general election, 2001 general election. James Cooper (Northern Ireland politician), James Cooper was nominated by the UUP. On this occasion, however, both the nationalist and unionist votes were to be split. Initially, Maurice Morrow of the DUP was nominated to stand, with the DUP fiercely opposing the UUP's support for the Good Friday Agreement. Morrow then withdrew in favour of Jim Dixon, a survivor of the Enniskillen bombing who stood as an Independent Unionist opposed to the Agreement. Tommy Gallagher (politician), Tommy Gallagher of the SDLP ran, but his intervention did not do enough damage to Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin's
Michelle Gildernew Michelle Gildernew (born 28 March 1970) is an Irish Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active in both the Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also ...

Michelle Gildernew
won by 53 votes over Cooper. Subsequently, the result was challenged amid allegations that a polling station had been kept open by force for longer than the deadline, allowing more people to vote, but the courts—while conceding that this happened—did not uphold the challenge, because it held that the votes cast after the legal closing time would not have affected the outcome. Ahead of the United Kingdom general election, 2005 (Northern Ireland), 2005 general election, there was speculation that a single unionist candidate could retake the seat. The UUP and DUP, however, ran opposing candidates and in the event Gildernew held her seat. She kept the seat at the United Kingdom general election, 2010 (Northern Ireland), 2010 general election by four votes over the Unionist candidate, Rodney Connor. Following the election, Connor lodged an election petition challenging the result, based on a dispute about differences in the number of ballot papers recorded at polling stations and those subsequently recorded at the count centre. The petition was rejected after it was found that only three extra votes remained unaccounted for. The judge ruled that "even if those votes were introduced in breach of the rules and if they had all been counted in favour of the first respondent their exclusion would still have given the first respondent (Ms Gildernew) a majority of one vote and the result would not have been affected." In the United Kingdom general election, 2015 (Northern Ireland), election of May 2015 Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew lost the seat to the UUP's candidate Tom Elliott (politician), Tom Elliott. Although Elliott was running for the UUP, he was also being actively supported by the DUP, the Traditional Unionist Voice and the UK Independence Party. The Northern Ireland Conservatives, Conservative Party also refused to run a candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, despite running in 16 out of the other 17 constituencies. Just as in the February 1974 United Kingdom general election, February 1974 and 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983 elections, faced with a single Unionist candidate, the SDLP refused to discuss a nationalist pact with Sinn Féin. Gildernew re-captured her seat in the United Kingdom general election, 2017 (Northern Ireland), snap June 2017 election. In the 2019 United Kingdom general election, 2019 election she was re-elected with a majority of just 57 votes (the narrowest result in the UK), despite the DUP withdrawing and the SDLP standing a candidate. This made the 2019 election the second time in under ten years that Fermanagh and South Tyrone has been the seat with the smallest winning majority in the UK.


Members of Parliament


Elections


Elections in the 2010s

Caroline Wheeler is a member of the United Kingdom Labour Party (UK), Labour Party who ran as an independent in the seat as the Labour Party do not run in Northern Ireland. This was the smallest majority at the 2019 general election. Rodney Connor had the support of the Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force Following the close result Connor lodged a petition against Gildernew alleging irregularities in the counting of the votes had affected the result. However the Court found that there were only three ballot papers which could not be accounted for, and even if they were all votes for Connor, Gildernew would have had a plurality of one. The election was therefore upheld.


Elections in the 2000s


Elections in the 1990s

Boundary changes took effect from the 1997 United Kingdom general election, 1997 general election. The projections of what the 1992 result would have been if fought on 1997 boundaries are shown below.General Election 1997 – Fermanagh and South Tyrone
BBC News


Elections in the 1980s

Minor boundary changes took effect from the 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983 general election.


Elections in the 1970s


Elections in the 1960s


Elections in the 1950s

After the election, Philip Clarke was found ineligible by an election court, and Robert Grosvenor, 5th Duke of Westminster, Lord Robert Grosvenor was declared elected in his place.


See also

* List of Parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland


References


Further reading

*F. W. S. Craig, ''British Parliamentary Election Results 1918 – 1949'' *F. W. S. Craig, ''British Parliamentary Election Results 1950 – 1970''


External links


2017 Election
House Of Commons Library 2017 Election report
A Vision Of Britain Through Time
(Constituency elector numbers)

(Election results from 1992 to the present)
Political Science Resources
(Election results from 1951 to the present)

ARK – Access Research Knowledge – (Election results 1983 – 1992) * {{Authority control Westminster Parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland Constituencies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom established in 1950 Politics of County Fermanagh Politics of County Tyrone