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East Antrim
UUP hold

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
In an 87 per cent Protestant constituency on the coast north of Belfast, including Larne and Carrickfergus, it is certain that the MP will be one or other brand of Unionist. Which, however, is a more open question. In 1997 Antrim East was held easily by the Ulster Unionists (that is the party still led by David Trimble, despite frequent hard-line challenges) - Roy Beggs has now been the MP for nearly 18 years. However, the victory of the Democratic Unionists ("Paisleyites") in the neighbouring South Antrim constituency in the September 2000 byelection is very relevant. Politics in Northern Ireland are capable of demonstrating huge swings, dependent on circumstances rather than fundamental changes of mind, and the mood of the Protestant/Unionsit majority may well be less inclined to accommodation than it was in 1997. Roy Beggs is himself one of the UU MPs who opposes the Belfast Agreement, and this may save him, although the experience of David Burnside in Antrim South is not reassuring for him, and of course the Antrim North MP for the last 30 years has been Ian Paisley himself. If the DUP put up a strong candidate in 2001, as a glance at a map shows, the Ulster Unionists are very exposed in this third division of Antrim.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Ulster Unionist Whip, Roy Beggs - once arrested and fined for inciting an Orange road blockade- is a low-profile and relatively inarticulate MP in a party where the competition for such accolades is fairly stiff, and whose leader, David Trimble, describes the generality of his colleagues as 'the Woodentops'. An ex-teacher and one-time Paisleyite, he deserted Trimble in 1998 to vote with five of his ten parliamentary colleagues against the Good Friday Agreement. A tall, square-faced Protestant Ulsterman, who is pro-caning, anti smoking, and Europhobic, he was born in 1936, educated at Ballyclare High School and Stranmillis Teacher Training College, Belfast, and taught for 25 years before going into first a coachworks, then farming business. He was first elected in 1983.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Roy Beggs
UUP hold
UUP Roy Beggs 13,101 36.39%
SF Jeanette Graffin 903 2.51%
C Alan Greer 807 2.24%
I Robert Mason 1,092 3.03%
All John Mathews 4,483 12.45%
SDLP Danny O'Connor 2,641 7.34%
DUP Sammy Wilson 12,973 36.04%
Candidates representing 7 parties stood for election to this seat.

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