Northern Ireland's five key election battlegrounds for UK General Election 2024

-Credit: (Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire)
-Credit: (Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

There are just a few weeks to go until the UK General Election. At this election, all 18 seats for Northern Ireland MPs at Westminster are up for grabs, and there are 136 candidates competing for these positions.

At the last Westminster election in 2019, the DUP won the most seats in Northern Ireland with eight. However, this has now been reduced to seven after former party leader Jeffrey Donaldson was suspended from the party.

Sinn Féin won the second most seats with seven, while the SDLP secured two, and the Alliance Party one. Coming up to the latest election on July 4, certain constituencies will be more competitive than others.

Read more: The 30 candidates running in all Belfast constituencies in General Election

Read more: Full list of candidates running in the General Election in Northern Ireland

This is also the first election since constituency boundary changes came into force after the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020 required that most seats have between 69,724 and 77,062 voters. A change for this election as a result is the South Belfast constituency being renamed Belfast South and Mid Down, after including areas which were previously part of Lagan Valley and Strangford.

We have been looking at some of the key constituencies in Northern Ireland to watch out for at the upcoming 2024 UK General Election.

Lagan Valley

For the past 27 years, Jeffrey Donaldson has been the MP for the Lagan Valley area. However, he has announced he will not be standing for election after facing historical sex charges which he said he is contesting.

The DUP's new general election candidate for the area will be Upper Bann MLA, Jonathan Buckley. Alliance's assembly member Sorcha Eastwood and UUP MLA Robbie Butler are also putting themselves forward for the area.

Belfast East

In the 2019 Westminster election, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long was within 2,000 votes of unseating the DUP's Gavin Robinson in East Belfast.

Now, just weeks after becoming interim DUP leader following Jeffrey Donaldson's suspension, he faces defending his seat against the Alliance leader once again.

However, the results could be more unpredictable this time around. In 2019, just three candidates ran in East Belfast, compared to the seven candidates running this year.

Belfast South and Mid Down

Due to recent constituency boundary changes, the constituency previously known as Belfast South is much larger, now including areas previously part of Lagan Valley and Strangford.

In 2019, the SDLP's Claire Hanna won Belfast South with a 57% majority. Her campaign then was boosted by a Green Party endorsement and Sinn Féin stepping aside.

Sinn Féin are once again not fielding a candidate in the area, making Hanna a clear favourite on the nationalist side. The Green Party are running in the constituency this year with outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Ainé Groogan, which could make a small dent in the large majority Hanna received last time.

A high profile challenge could come from the Alliance Party candidate, MLA and former Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl. Although her party didn't perform well in the area in 2019, changes in boundaries and party momentum could increase their vote share in the constituency.

North Down

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry will be defending his seat at this election. He was the surprise winner in North Down in 2019, with many presuming the departure of independent unionist Sylvia Hermon meant the seat was the DUP's to lose.

The DUP's candidate last time, Alex Easton, has since left the party and is running as an independent candidate. The DUP and TUV have stood aside in North Down to endorse Easton.

The UUP are contesting the seat with their candidate Tim Collins, a retired British Army colonel known for his role in the Iraq War.

Unlike in 2019, the Green Party and SDLP are on the ballot paper, splitting the non-Unionist side of the vote. North Down is one of the Green Party's strongest constituencies.


SDLP leader Colum Eastwood secured the highest majority in Northern Ireland at the 2019 Westminster election, winning the Foyle seat with a majority of more than 17,000 votes.

However, since becoming the largest party in recent Stormont and council elections, Sinn Féin may have hopes of challenging for the seat once more with their candidate Sandra Duffy. The party outpolled SDLP in the Foyle assembly election in 2022.

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