Sleepless election nights ahoy…

GOOD news for sleepless political anoraks – Northern Ireland is going to get overnight Westminster election counts. Hurrah – although the chief electoral officer is being a little optimistic if he thinks all the results will be available to read in the morning papers!

  • Whatever Next?

    Gosh, won’t that mean polling stations will have to close on time? Not good news for our friends in Sinn Fein. Meanwhile – looks like Whitehall’s expecting those dozen or so DUP MPs to be potentially pivotal, so no more hanging about!

  • halfbreed

    Were there not overnight counts in ’92? I seem to remember waking up to Gerry Adams losing his seat.. (Or did I just get up very very late that day?)

  • slug

    halfbred

    Some of the NI were counted in 92. I remember staying up that night and seeing Hendron winning West Belfast from Gerry Adams. Shortly after that the IRA realised the game was up.

    I always welcome NI being brought into line with the rest of the UK.

  • The four Belfast constituencies, and I think only the four Belfast constituencies, counted on the night in 1992. A number of rural constituencies in other parts of the UK (Highlands and Islands, Cornwall, etc.) count on Friday as well.

  • David Ford

    Sorry to have to correct Sammy, but in 1992, as well as the four Belfast constituencies, North Down and Strangford counted overnight. I was at East Belfast count, which didn’t begin until after 11 pm, even though ballot boxes had been arriving from shortly after 10. Count proceeded at ‘a leisurely pace’.

    At around 4 am, I remember that BBC radio reported the re-election of Charles Kennedy, where ballot boxes from Skye were taken to Inverness by helicopter and others travelled up to 70 miles by road. Still no result from any of four small urban constituencies.

    I left City Hall about 6.30. Recount was underway in West, but I think the other three had all declared by then, but certainly none before 5. The results made the (evening only) Telegraph.

    At least by the time of the North Down by-election in 1995 the count started about 10.15 as the first boxes arrived, so that I was able to make an accurate prediction to UTV live at 10.40 from the count hall.

    Unfortunately, the statement shows that Mr Bain is keen on introducing electronic counting, rather than efficient counting.

  • Michael

    After enduring the gruelling count in the Foyle constituency in the last Assembly election, and the Westminister one before that, I think that overnight counting will offer some hope of speedier results.
    But what about us poor media types? It was bad enough sitting drinking tepid cups of coffee at the count centre during the day but it will be pretty eerie hanging about all night waiting for the results to come through.

  • Whatever Next

    Sammy often asks what the point of the UUP is, and what future it has? Briefly – to provide local party leaders with better things to do with their time than your friend up there. From memory the South Belfast count in 92 ended c. 4am.