DUP’s Jim Wells tops the poll for the third time in a row

DUP’s poll-topper in South Down, Jim Wells, has spoken of his “delight” at being elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“We have had a great result for unionism,” said Mr Wills, who topped the unionist poll for the third time in a row. “As a result of a high turnount in unionist areas and a 90 per cent transfer rate between the three candidates, two MLAs were returned with 500 votes to spare.”

Mr Wells said many had predicted that the loss of 4,000 unionist votes due to boundary changes would ensure a fifth Nationalist seat in South Down.

“There is no doubt that a normal turnout would have resulted in the loss of a unionist seat, but I am delighted that areas such as Kilkeel and Rathfriland responded to my calls for a high level of voting,” he added. “I am personally delighted to have topped the Unionist poll for the third time in a row and I look forward to representing the people of South Down at Stormont for another four years’