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DUP gain

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
A very heavily (88 per cent) Protestant constituency named after Strangford Lough in the east of Northern Ireland, and including the Ards peninsula with its mixture of fishing and farming as well as some pleasant commuting areas for Belfast, the contest here will be fought out between unionist factions, following the retirement of the deputy leader of David Trimble's Ulster Unionists, John D Taylor, who was often thought of as a vital swing element in the acceptance or rejection of negotiating terms with the other elements in the complex politics of constitutional settlement. To which side of the line will this unionist seat tip? The favourite appears to be an advocate of staunch resistance to change or compromise: Iris Robinson of the Paisleyite DUP, against the Ulster Unionist David McNarry, more in the pro-agreement tradition which Taylor usually came to support. It seems likely that the DUP will continue its advance, from two seats in 1997 (including Iris Robinson's husband, Peter, in East Belfast) and three after the South Antrim by-election in 2000, to anywhere between four and seven in 2001.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Iris Robinson of the DUP and David McNarry, the UUP's successor to the retiring MP John Taylor, are fighting for the soul of unionism here. She, born 1949, makes a virtue of the DUP's refusal to speak to or even look at Sinn Fein politicians, while McNarry, a pro-Agreement Unionist makes much of her 'greed' in seeking to add the job of MP to her existing roles as an MLA and a councillor, claiming that her pay for all these jobs will total 5,000 per month. He also attacks the DUP's 'dynasties' - of Paisleys Robinsons and McCreas - an ironic barb given his own party's long-lost reliance on the exclusive dynasties of Brookes and Chichester-Clarks.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Iris Robinson
DUP gain
SF Liam Johnstone 930 2.15%
All Kieran McCarthy 2,902 6.71%
SDLP Danny McCarthy 2,646 6.12%
UUP David McNarry 17,422 40.28%
DUP Iris Robinson 18,532 42.84%
NI Cedric Wilson 822 1.90%
Candidates representing 6 parties stood for election to this seat.

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