Robinson defeated by Long in East Belfast

The DUP leader Peter Robinson has been defeated by the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long in East Belfast by 12,839 votes to 11,306. The TUV candidate, David Vance, secured 1,856 votes… BBC report here.  And where were you?

  • Manfarang

    An amazing result.

  • Sammy Morse

    Goodness, John, I thought 24 hours ago you were going to walk this seat. From your many posts on Slugger, I thought David Cameron had the same standing in Protestant areas of “Northen” Ireland as Pope Benedict had in Catholic areas (well, actually he did, just not in the way you thought). And I also thought that you, personally, had told every retired Methodist Minister’s wife from Bridge End to Old Mill that Alliance weren’t really a unionist party and had convinced them to vote for Trevor Ringland.

    This will be extraordinarily tight next time and Naomi will do very well to hold it. But her challengers will be a rejuvenated DUP, who managed to behave with decorum in trying circumstances and otherwise had a very good election result; not a party that has been utterly rejected in every corner of Northern Ireland. And deservedly so after a nasty, bitter, anti-peace campaign.

    (PS – all the PfC/BBC glitterati who told me we didn’t have a chance – fancy eating your hats now?)

    (PPS – TUV and a UCUNF that was channelling their lines humiliated; the war is over. Fair play to the DUP for learning the lessons of their appalling Euro-election campaign and actually selling their achievements.)

  • John East Belfast


    For someone who has supposedly “spent his entire adult life working for non sectarian politics” there is an awful lot of hate in your life.

    “I hated UCUNF because it was a lie, based on the idea that you could have a non-sectarian party when even overtly Unionist Catholics ran away from the reality of what UCUNF was”

    What was the lie and what was the reality exactly ?
    It was a UK wide unionist party – how is that a lie

    “I hated it because it implied that people in Northern Ireland were basically stupid and backward, and needed the firm hand of home counties Tories to make them civilised.
    …It has nothing to do with arrogance and an assumption of the right to rule. It has nothing to do with looking down your nose at people and lecturing them.”

    What total bollocks – if you want to just spew out anger try and frame it with some intelligible substance .

    And anyhow the only people who regularly patronise and lecture the voters here are the Alliance Party with their tribal politics jibe and their despising of unionism – I notice nationalism never gets that treatment for some reason – but that is because you cant get any votes there and therefore you think you have a right to the moderate unionist vote.

    You arent interested in non sectarian politics – you actually need it to satify your desire for power.
    That is why you dont attack Irish nationalism and actually praise the DUP.

    As I said on another thread the AP is not interested in ending sectariansm here – there is clearly to much bitterness and hatred in your minds to achieve that. You just want power and like a cuckoo you sit in the moderate unionist nest lashing out at all things progressively unionist because rather than welcoming displays at moderation in the “tribes” you would rather keep them perpetually divided.

  • John East Belfast


    “…. Alliance weren’t really a unionist party and had convinced them to vote for Trevor Ringland.”.

    I am not going to criticise my own Party’s election campaign in my own constituency – that will be for another forum – but if there is one area we dropped the ball it was not telling our electorate of the AP’s distaste for their core beliefs.

  • Re-engaged

    It is unbelievable that still the UC’s seem in a state of denial some 6-7 hours after this result.

    It is a surprise the Naomi Long did come through (though checking back on some of the posts made over the last 2 weeks it was clear from many, including myself that only the UC’s were deluding themselves) in the end. Eventually after all that happened the £5 plot of land broke the camels back in EB.

    EB has gained someone who will be effective in Westminster and a positive representative (whether she is pro-union or not is irrelevant) and it will be interesting to see how and if AP can build on this in terms of NL’s replacement in Stormont and how that pans out next year.

    As for Turgon, DV etc… etc… who have crowed the wonders of the TUV and UC’s exstensively on Slugger – what now?

  • John East Belfast


    What state of denial are you referring to ?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Calm down Sammy Morse, that was a point on Cameron and not on the UCUNF project. It was clearly about the situation in GB more than in NI. I wouldn’t take anything away from Long’s victory, you don’t need to be so defensive now.

  • Cushy Glenn

    you damn yourself with your own post raven. if this is the first time you voted in years then you directly contributed to the weakening of Unionism. Dillitant politics is fine for the bar in Royal Portrush but you don’t wid just because you’re “decent” – as some UUPers found out before.

    And your smug condescension to the TUV voters- of which I am proud to have been one- is just the same old arrogant liberal middle class Unionism that was always respectable in its sectarianism as long as there were the lumpens out the back if you needed them.

    Go back to you sofa and don’t complain when there’s noone there to keep the oiks of your drive way

  • the old Manxman

    On this exchange I think we can say “It was Sammy Morse what won it”

  • kevin moran

    The story of this election is the difference in attitudes between the unionist and nationalist electorates.

    The unionist voters dump a leader (Robinson) mired in sleaze, the nationalists return one (Adams) with a large majority.

    The unionist voters bin a sectarian extremist party (TUV), the nationalists vote one (Sinn Fein) top of the poll.

    Unionist integrity shines through.

  • Yeah, yeah. This is, after all, the show that never ends.

    On the other hand, the East Belfast electors have performed a magnificent act of social hygiene. In Naomi Long they may well have found a decent and honourable representative: in NI such oddities shine out like a good deed in a naughty world. Let’s hope decency is a transmittable ailment.

    Oh, you’ve made an old man soooo very happy.

  • RepublicanStones

    Congrats to the folks of East Belfast. To show Robbo the door whilst simulaneously thumbing their nose at Vance and his minnows demonstrates an electorate not under the cult of personality. Unlike another section of the city. That said I think Naomi should realise that protest votes don’t last. She be a very busy girl if she wants to repeat the feat.

  • daisy

    Congratulations to Naomi Long – a great result for her and Alliance. She’s a hard worker and a good speaker. Really cheered me up this morning to hear the news.

    Fall of the House of Robinson – when will the film be made?

  • dodrade

    I may be a lonely voice here but I believe Robbo shall rise again. In a perfect storm he still only narrowly lost to a unionist-lite candidate in a strongly unionist constituency. He will still be pivotal in the hung parliament negotiations in the next few days, and there is every chance there will be another election in the autumn and can regain the seat. Whilst the smears may have worked (temporarily) in East Belfast, the DUP under Robinson’s leadership have been re-endorsed by the electorate, the TUV exposed as a paper tiger and the UCUNF alliance lies in ruins. Robinson remains First Minister and I believe he will remain so after next year’s assembly elections.

  • Re-engaged

    That the UC project is dead and buried – listening to Basil McCrea saying we need to gather our thoughts – rubbish, Reg resign and UU’s break link with Conservatives, no differnent for Peter Robinson – exit public life now.

    Some times doing the simple obvious thing instead of all this PC talk is far better.

  • John East Belfast


    I cant see how someone saying “we need to gather our thoughts” is being in denial ?

    I can assure you nobody is in denial

  • Interesting view Alias

  • John East Belfast


    She is not even unionist – lite – she is a different brew entirely

  • whether she is pro-union or not is irrelevant

    Pretty much sums up the DUPe attitude to most policy issues in general…

  • noneoftheabove

    Please reply as to who or what created the perfect storm and why anyone would want the Robinson’s at the heart of government.

  • EB, the Ulster nationalists prefer to designate her as such to convince themselves their headcounting isn’t in terminal decline.

  • Re-engaged

    Problem for PR is he has lost that base of support which due to perception / fact (delete as necessary) amongst a large section of his base that he has forgotten about them. He is now proven to be damaged goods and as was seen across the UK last night – if you were tainted by the expenses scandal you paid the price.

    Whether EB is pro-union or not it has a good MP who will work hard – be thankful you are not in West Belfast where the MP is re-elected and won’t take seat nor has vision or ability to improve the area for all his electorate (same for all SF MP’s).

    Agree about UC’s and TUV

  • Re-engaged


  • Alfamale

    I guarantee you all here and now that Naomi will retain this seat in the future especially if given the time to show the electorate what she can do. What sort of crowing acceptance speech would Robinson have given if he’d won? He’d have gone on to have a go at the media again etc etc Robinson is damaged goods and will now at least have the time on his hands to turn his attention to defending libel actions.

    I am always reluctant to ‘put the boot in’ to a man when he’s down….but in PR’s case I’m prepared to make an exception.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Are you saying she’d think about voting Yes in a UI referendum, JEB?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Unionism decapitates it’s leaders ‘ should be the headline . Robinson, Empey and Allistair all lost . On the face of it not good .
    Peter Robinson had to contend with personal issues and two strong opponents in both Trevor Ringland and Naomi Long . It looks like the much hoped for Tory link up has backfired on Reg Empey and the TUV can now be written off as a one man band with only it”s leader looking like he can muster enough votes to win an Assembly seat .

    For my money the two most incredible performances have to be Naomi Long’s win in East Belfast a just reward for her years of hard work and representation and whether she holds the seat or not MIchelle Gildernew’s for SF in FST .

  • John East Belfast


    “Whether EB is pro-union or not it has a good MP”

    I am quite happy for good MLAs to work hard at Stormont.

    At Westminster, the National Parliament unionism needs it voice heard – not by someone who doesnt care if she is in London or Dublin

    The next 20 years is setting up to be a re-run of the same period in the early 20th Century.

    We are heading for a re-run of Home Rule via a Border Poll and unionism needs to have its act together to articulate its case.

    It is crazy to be in early 21st century NI politics and say you dont have a policy on the Union – but of course the vast majority of the NI electorate agree by giving the Alliance Party single digit % votes overall

    However one of unionism’s strongest seats is east Belfast so what is the MP for EB going to say when this debate kicks off – sorry I am not interested sort it out amongst yourselves and I will go along with whatever you decide ?

    That is not what the Unionist Electorate of EB want – you cant hold this seat as a non unionist with a third of the vote.

  • John East Belfast

    Tochais Siorai

    I dont know how she would vote but she wouldnt/couldnt engage in the campaign on one side or the other because that is for the tribes to sort out

  • daisy

    She obviously convinced enough of the “tribe” to vote for her JEB, so I think you’re seriously underestimating her. Again.

    Again, well done to Naomi and I think also a pat on the back to all us voters who showed the TUV and the Tories that they aren’t wanted here.

  • John East Belfast


    Unfortunately neither DUP nor UCUNF made a big enough deal of Alliance Party’s achilles heel in East Belfast.

  • John East Belfast


    “I agree with that, but voters haven’t rejected Tory values – they’ve rejected Tories who have rejected Tory values”

    I have to totally disagree with you there.

    If you look at the GB electoral map the Tories have done all they needed in the south and south east.
    However they continue to flounder in Scotland and the North East.
    Traditional Conservative values are no more attractive than Traditional Unionist values and it wouldnt have won them any more seats than they have won already.

    The electoral map of England is showing an even greater north south divide as Labour cant convince the Haves that they wont squander it and Conservatives didnt do enough to convince the Have Nots that they wouldnt have even less under the Tories.

    Everyone has moved to the centre ground – slightly left and right – and traditional values are probaly not found there

  • kevin moran

    moderator on a go slow then?

  • East Belfast voter

    I agree with Daisy.

    As a voter in East Belfast, voting for the Conservative party was not an option.

    JEB. I don’t think you give Naomi Long enough credit for her tireless work on local issues in East Belfast. Her success in this election is not only due to Peter Robinson’s difficulties but because she is the most prominent and effective local poitician at improving her locality. She would likely do well, whichever party she campaigned for.

    With the peace process and the Northern Ireland assembly in place the rights of the people of in Northern Ireland to determine their flag is established. Many of those I know in East Belfast would rather concentrate on the issues of health, the econonmy, etc rather than engage with politicians who primarily define themselves by their status on NI’s constitution and forever banging on about it.

    JEB. The Alliance Party’s apparent neutrality may be an advantage because Naomi is associated foremost with regional and local issues rather than by the constitutional status of Northern Ireland .

  • braniel unionist

    well, before things get any worse, unionism needs to urgently unite around an agreed position and platform; an aspiration of ‘voluntary coalition’ is the agreed policy around which tuv, uup and dup should unite, in my view the voters are telling unionism that they dont like personal attacks or negative campaigning and moreover whats the point in giving the electorate an opportunity to vote for a tory government if it’s still impossible to be both unionist AND labour!

  • slug

    But John aren’t you the same person who argues that unionism’s ultimate success is when there are no unionist parties. Isn’t the vote for Naomi a sign that people don’t think the union is even an issue any more?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Unfortunately neither DUP nor UCUNF made a big enough deal of Alliance Party’s achilles heel in East Belfast.

    John, obviously you have some kind of death wish, or some sort of need to be permanently relegated to third place in East Belfast. As such, then yes, it makes perfect sense to maintain the strategy that has achieved this for you, by campaigning negatively against a popular local representative.

    As for you not criticizing your party, well, that’s interesting. You faced a drastically weakened DUP and you weren’t able to dent it. All that money, all those ads, all those Tory visits, all that PR – and you still couldn’t win a single seat. That’s a total disaster John, and it’s your arrogance that you don’t need to change anything because the voters were poorly involved that forces me to conclude that we are all better off if the UUP simply fades from existence as it is now on course to do.

  • Phil

    “uniting the Unionists will not work for me, or indeed, I would submit, many thousands of others on this side of the house. Why? Because parties that still reek of financial self-interest, parties that sing hymns and praise God under a layer of scandal, parties that frankly clothe themselves in a veneer of responsibility, while still refusing to share fully power with the “other” community will never, ever speak for me.”

    Nail. On. The. Head.

  • Garza

    Congrats to Alliance and Naomi Long, great win!!!

    Im happy enough, I put down money for Naomi to win when she was 100/1 🙂

  • I think what John is trying to say is that they lost East Belfast because they didn’t push their stance on the union hard enough. Because obviously that is a message people would respond to positively in the middle of a recession, and clearly it worked everywhere else in NI.

    John – for Alliance’s sake, I hope Ucunf make you their next director of elections!

  • orly

    Not really. If you look at the popular vote you’ll notice it looks remarkably like 2001 in reverse and we all know Labour won by a huge margin.

    Problem is FPTP really benefits the Labour party and the others have to do especially well to get rid of them.

  • John East Belfast


    We didnt campaign negatively against Naomi Long at all – I did personally but only on your party’s stance on the Union.
    We should have pointed out that a vote for Long would not protect the Union.
    As for not criticising my party what I was sayingw as I dont do it on public websites and I am not saying we dont need to change anything either


    I am saying we lost EB largely because of a strong Alliance candidate and the link with the Tories

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Congratulation Naomi Long.

    Great to see the good folk of east Belfast making a firm stand against political corruption. I hope we do the same down south come election time and run such political buccaneers and opportunists that we have plenty of.

  • stewart

    A jaw dropping moment last night watching the East Belfast result. Fair play to her & i think Dawn Purvis had a positive effect on her campaign in Working class areas of the east.

    As for Empey’s lot, they failed to attract the disillusioned DUP because of the tory link-up.

    Makes you wonder if Empey hadn’t joined with the tories & stayed in East Belfast, would he have had a chance of taking the seat?

  • slug

    It is nice to see Alliance doing this.

    Well done to Long and to Alliance, this totally took me by surprise.

  • John East Belfast


    My vision of no unionist parties involves the establishment of mainstream UK parties in NI.
    We are far from thatand is clearly debateable whether that is an acheiveable goal at all

    The AP are not mainstream UK – if she is going to take the Lib Dem lead then that opens up a whole raft of other policies that the EB electorate would have had a problem with – eg adopting the Euro at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Not to mention some of the more left wing tax redistributive Lib Dem policies regarding Higher Rate Tax payers losing any Higher Rate Pension Relief, Child tax credits and Child Benefit which wouldnt go down well with some of the “nicer” and well off EB electorate.

    Therefore if all the AP is about is a NI shared future routine then No that is not what I had in mind

  • pinni

    Let`s hope that Naomi will be as beneficial and useful to East Belfast as PR has been for the past three decades. Seems like she is a good worker but I`m wondering where she stands with double/triple jobbing?

  • TheHorse

    I take it Robbo and Reg will now be heading into the senset or the House of Lords where Peter can keep milking the gravy train. Well done to the people of East Belfast, its just a pity the electorate in West Belfast hasn’t opened their eyes to the Snake oil salesman who’s vote has dropped considering Twinbrook, Poleglass and Dunmurry were included into west belfast for the first time.

  • Greenflag

    So at least Garza won the election -nice one 😉

  • Congratulations to Naomi Long. She works very hard and deserves her success. A tremendous result. It made the election for me, well that and seeing Jaqui Smith get the boot.

    Not sure how I feel about Robinson. He has had problems and anyway its rude to gloat.

  • Garza

    Yes yes 🙂 Thanks. Enough money for a brand new massive spanking computer monitor!!!

  • William Whitelaw (as in Thatcher’s “Every PM needs a Willie”) was a decent old Old Tory and generally liked by his parliamentary opponents. On one occasion, when the Wilson government was wait-deep in the ordure he remarked:

    “No! no! Mustn’t gloat!. But, let me tell you, I’m gloating like hell!”.

    Just so.

  • dundonald voter

    well is anyone going to congratulate me on my predictions for the last two months? by the way harry j got it right he has been saying bye bye reg. he missed one thing bye bye peter

  • Wasted Ballot

    While I don’t have a high opinion of Mrs Long, it is truly great to see a non tribal MP from Northern Ireland.

    Poor showing all round for the Greens though, might spell trouble for them next year.

    Oh and no a semi-humorous note, I’ll put a fiver on the fact she will Join the Lib Dems within two years! The fav past time of Alliance members is to jump ship after a little success :o)

  • The Raven

    If you think I spend my weekends in Royal Portrush, you are sadly wrong. Where do you spend your weekends, Cushy? In the pub drowning your sorrows.

    I said I’d tip the hat to your man Ross if he beat Ms Macaulay in to fourth place. Guess my hat stays where it is.

    MY conscience is clear. I guess your man didn’t win because the vote didn’t turn out. 38% in a staunch area of Coleraine? Doesn’t bode too well for the future of the TUV. I am happy to be smug about it, yes I am.

    The thrust of my post was that there is now nowhere for a very, very wide range of people from the P/U/L community to go in terms of voting. You’re one of them now. You just decided to be on the end of the scale which tastes decidedly bitter. And if that’s condescending, then for once, I am happy to wear the label.

  • Pigeon Toes

    A very pleasing result.

    Had the rumoured “Super Injunctions” not been in place, would there have been a different result elsewhere?

  • Comrade Stalin

    We should have pointed out that a vote for Long would not protect the Union.

    Like I said to you already John, it’s none of my business if you follow your prerogative to completely ignore the facts staring you in the face.

    Naomi won that election without a union jack or a mention of the union anywhere in sight. That must scare the absolute shite out of you.

  • John East Belfast


    It doesnt scare me at all – do you thi nk East Belfast has suddenly become non unionist ?

    Put it this way if the nationalist vote in EB was more akin to FST Naomi would have polled no more than the few hundred votes that her colleague in FST did.

    That is the reality – unionism one way or other will take back EB next time

  • It’s all written in Leviticus, I’m sure.

    Thou needest not be a good public representative. Just wrap yoursen in the Union Flag to protect the Union.

    It’s some curious form of political prophylaxis.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It doesnt scare me at all – do you thi nk East Belfast has suddenly become non unionist ?

    Nope, I just think that people are sufficiently confident about constitutional matters that they no longer feel the need to vote for a candidate that makes this his first and principal policy.

    Put it this way if the nationalist vote in EB was more akin to FST Naomi would have polled no more than the few hundred votes that her colleague in FST did.

    So who do you think voted for Maire Hendron in Pottinger then ?

    That is the reality – unionism one way or other will take back EB next time

    Given what you were predicting a few short days ago in EB, I don’t think there is anyone who can take any of your predictions about what will happen in a few years’ time very seriously.

  • cynic47

    Is Harry on holiday?

  • John East Belfast


    The unionist electorate wanted to give Robinson a kick and Naomi benefited.
    There is no real change – dont kid yourself

    If Robinson hadnt stood then the DUP result would have been very different, if for instance, they had drafted in Sammy Wilson.

    Also the electorate isnt sufficiently versed in your anti unionist bias – that is our failing.

    eg Naomi’s voting against the flying of the British armed forces flag at Belfast city hall wouldnt have gone down too well in East Belfast when their constituents are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • wee buns

    Cocoon or condom like.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Well done Naomi Long. So long Peter and the Robinson clan. I wonder how much the Seamus Mckee interview helped in his demise?

    It didn’t take long before “Brutus” McNarry stuck the knife in Reg. If Reg has to go and to be honest he was a pretty pathetic leader, McNarry and the rest of the leadership who supported the tory link up should also go. The UUP should beg lady Hermon to come back and lead the party. At least she knows how to win a election.

  • Granni Trixie

    Wasted ballot – dont waste your money. I am confident that Naomi will not be “joining the LIbs Dems within 2 years” as you predict. As she and DF have indicated, whilst Alliance has a “special relationship” with the Lib Dems and are likely often to vote the same way, Alliance leaves itself free to vote in a way that is in the best intrersts of EB/NI.

    This is APNI policy but if it was not I think the UU/Tory experiment shows you make yourself a hostage to fortune by tieing yourself closely to one of the mainland parties.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The unionist electorate wanted to give Robinson a kick and
    Naomi benefited.

    The critical detail being that given all the hype, it should have been UCUNF who benefitted.

    If Robinson hadnt stood then the DUP result would have been very different, if for instance, they had drafted in Sammy Wilson.

    I still think Naomi would have had a damn good result, and that Ringland would have trailed in the distant third.

    eg Naomi’s voting against the flying of the British armed forces flag at Belfast city hall wouldnt have gone down too well in East Belfast when their constituents are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I’d expect that if this could have made any difference, the DUP would have used it in a whispering campaign, a bit like they tried to use against Bradshaw in SB.

  • Wasted Ballot

    Granni it was a joke, Chill.