In a shock elimination for the constituency of North Antrim, long-serving MLA Mervyn Storey has lost his seat.
In a close-fought battle, Alliances Patricia O’lynn garnered just enough transfer votes to edge past Mervyn for the fifth and final seat in the North Antrim constituency, reducing the DUPs to just one seat in an area once concidered as a ‘Paisley Stronghold’.
The long-serving DUP stalwart first came into politics under the wing of the party founder, the Reverend Dr Ian Paisley, working in the late politician’s constituency office in Ballymena.
Armoy born, Mervyn was first elected to the then Ballymoney Borough Council in 2001 and then again in 2005, during which time he also contested for a place in the NI Assembly.
Elected to the Assembly for the first time in 2003, Mr Storey worked both as a local councillor and MLA before rules around double jobbing forced him to resign from Ballymoney Council.
A popular figure around Ballymoney, since becoming an MLA, Mervyn has served as chairperson for the Assembly education committee, Minister for the now-defunct social development and finance & personal departments and more recent, member of the policing board of NI.
As it stands, the North Antrim candidates elected to a new term in the Assembly are as follows:
- Jim Allister, TUV
- Paul Frew, DUP
- Patricia O’Lynn, Alliance
- Philip McGuigan, SF
- Robin Swann, UUP