North Down by-election, 1995

North Down By-Election, 1995

North Down by-election, 1995

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The North Down by-election, in the North Down constituency, was held on 15 June 1995, following the death of James Kilfedder, who had represented the constituency since the 1970 general election. Kilfedder had formed the Ulster Popular Unionist Party in 1980, but the party disintegrated on his death and so this was the first by-election since Walsall North in 1976 where the former MP's party did not contest the seat and the first since Bristol South East in 1963 when the election was not contested by the party that had won on the previous occasion.

History

The North Down constituency was created in 1950, and had consistently returned Unionist MPs with large majorities. It had also seen some of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland's strongest results, peaking at 22.1% of the vote in the 1983 general election, and in the 1992 general election, it had seen the Conservative Party's best result in Northern Ireland, picking up 32.0% of the vote.

In 1995, North Down was the wealthiest constituency in the province, and had one of the lowest Catholic populations. As a result, neither the Social Democratic and Labour Party nor Sinn Féin, the two parties most closely associated with the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, had regularly stood candidates in the constituency, and neither chose to stand in the by-election.

Candidates

Bob McCartney had stood in the constituency for the Ulster Unionist Party in 1983, when he had come third with 20.3% of the vote. In 1987 he fell...
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