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North Down
UUP gain

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
The one Northern Irish constituency which does not elect a member of the four main competing parties in the province, North Down has preferred someone who is effectively an Independent Unionist, Robert McCartney, who stood in he 1995 by-election and the 1997 general election as a United Kingdom Unionist. The seat has a tradition of such independence, for that by-election was caused by the death of Sir James Kilfedder, who had been the only Ulster Popular Unionist. Moreover, this is the seat in which the Conservative party actually came close to victory, polling over 14,000 votes in 1992, and breaking the apparently iron law that the mainblans British parties do not stand a chance, or indeed usually stand at all, in Northern Ireland. Clearly it is an unusual seat. It is over 90 per cent Protestant, so some form of unionist is bound to win, but the fact that the mainstream Ulster Unionists and the Paisleyite Democratic Unionists have been frozen out so frequently is probably stimulated by its status as the most affluent middle class seat in Northern Ireland, a commuting area for belfast profesionals and civil servants, highly educated and relatively non-sectarian. It has the highest level of owner occupation (77 per cent) of any Northern Ireland seat. The main communities are Bangor and Holywood, and although it would be wrong to say that it is unaffected by the Troubles it has generally avoided the worst economic as well as disorderly depredations of the past sad decades. McCartney is standing again and should be regarded as favourite, but a spirited challenge is being mounted by the Ulster Unionists' Lady Hermon, wife of the former police chief Sir John, and it remains to be seen whether her lively and attractive optimism is rewarded in this sophitsicated seat despite her relative moderation on constitutional and sectarian issues. 

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Robert McCartney was elected here in 1995 as an oddball independent unionist, leader of his small 'UK Unionist Party'. He was expelled from the UUP in, being simply too clever for their woodentop leadership. Sui generis, an odd mix of belligerent opposition to all Anglo-Irish deals with Sinn Fein-IRA, who yet manages to talk of 'a war against sectarian communalism and tribal nationalism' and be a sarcastic denouncer of Ian Paisley as a 'third rate Calvinist fascist'. Tall, thin, with a shock of white hair, he was born in 1936 and rose from the working class via grammar school and Queen's University Belfast to the Bar. He has managed to fall out with his own tiny Northern Ireland Assembly Group over his desire to exit from the body.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Sylvia Hermon
UUP gain
I Chris Carter 444 1.19%
SDLP Marietta Farrell 1,275 3.43%
UUP Sylvia Hermon 20,833 56.02%
UKU Robert McCartney 13,509 36.33%
SF Eamon McConvey 313 0.84%
C Julian Robertson 815 2.19%
Candidates representing 6 parties stood for election to this seat.

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