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South Antrim
UUP gain

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
Following the death of Clifford Forsythe, a parliamentary by-election was held in Antrim South on 22 September 2000, almost unnoticed across the Irish Sea, which saw the re-entry into parliament of the former DUP MP for Mid Ulster, William McCrea, who beat formidable and controversial figure of the staunch Ulster Unionist David Burnside by 822 votes in a locally vigorous contest based largely on the Democratic Unionists' opposition to the Good Friday agreement. McCrea's victory brought the DUP's representation at Westminster back to three seats, as it was before the 1997 general election, when he lost in more religiously and sectionally territory further west in the province to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. The DUP had not even put up a seat in this division in 1997. Antrim South has no sea coast, although it does meet the shore of Lough Neagh, the United Kingdom's largest lake, and curls around the west and north of Belfast in an essentially urban and industrial seat, based on Antrim itself, which includes Aldergrove Airport. McCrea will probably be favourite again now he has the advantage of incumbency in this nearly 80 per cent Protestant / Unionist seat, but the determined Burnside is re-running the contest, taking a stance nearly as hardline as his more jolly-seeming opponent.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Victory over the Unionist David Burnside in the September 2000 by-election brought Paisleyite Revd Willie McCrea back to the Commons where he represented Mid Ulster for 14 years until 1997. Born 1948, educated at Cookstown High School and at Paisley's theological college, he was a minister at Calvary Free Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt for 33 years. An uncompromising opponent of all power sharing who refuses to criticise loyalist murderers, his home deep in Catholic-majority territory west of the Bann had 40 IRA rounds fired into it in July 1994. He greeted his 2000 by-election come-back by joining his colleagues Paisley and Robinson in a ritual belting out of 'O God Our Help In Ages Past'. Burnside, a PR consultant, runs again for the UUP, this time hostile to power-sharing.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
David Burnside
UUP gain
NIU Norman Boyd 972 2.20%
UUP David Burnside 16,366 37.06%
All David Ford 1,969 4.46%
DUP Rev Robert McCrea 15,355 34.77%
SDLP Sean McKee 5,336 12.08%
SF Martin Meehan 4,160 9.42%
Candidates representing 6 parties stood for election to this seat.

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