Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 10:29 UK

How the candidates from NI fared across the water

Lembit Opik and Gabriela Irimia
Lembit Opik with former girlfriend Gabriela Irimia

The general election counts were a late night and early morning of mixed fortunes for candidates from Northern Ireland who were running for parties across the water.

The most high profile casualty was Liberal Democrat candidate Lembit Opik, who lost his seat in Montgomeryshire in Wales to the Conservatives.

The chat-show regular who has had high profile relationships with ITV weathergirl Sian Lloyd and one-half of the Cheeky Girls, Gabriela Irimia, lost to Glyn Davies despite defending a majority of more than 7,000 from 2005.

Five years on, the Conservative candidate managed a swing of over 13%.

Mr Opik, who was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, said he was "disappointed" by the result and admitted that it was unexpected.

"It is a sad time for me. On the other side, if you stand for politics, you have to be willing to contemplate defeat."

There was better news for Belfast-born Kate Hoey, who confirmed expectations by holding on comfortably to the Vaxuhall constituency in north London.

Her vote of 21,498 was just under a 50% share of the vote, giving her a majority of 10,651 over the Liberal Democrat challenger in second place.

Another London contender was Oxford-educated barrister Joanne Cash from County Armagh. Dubbed one of "Cameron's Cuties", she had been heavily tipped to win the seat of Westminster North from Labour.

However, in a result which confirmed the occasional quirkiness of how the night panned out nationwide, Ms Cash was defeated by the Labour candidate by 2,126.

The former Banbridge Academy pupil, who is expecting her first baby with husband Octavius Black, a friend of David Cameron, has blamed media reports about her for her failure to take the seat.

Meanwhile, another Conservative from Northern Ireland, Gareth McKeever from Tyrone, failed to win his target seat.

Joanne Cash
Joanne Cash from Armagh was disappointed to lose in Westminster North

He stood in Westmorland and Lonsdale in the Lake District but finished second to Tom Farron of the Liberal Democrats, who maintained a majority of more than 12,000.

An Oxford graduate, who worked in high finance in London, Mr McKeever reportedly sold his flat in the capital to move to the north.

However, another Northern Ireland-born politician, Labour's Roberta Blackman-Woods, fared better.

The University of Ulster graduate retained her City of Durham seat.

Afterwards she put her success down to positive campaigning.

"We've got used to believing that negative campaigning works. I don't think the Liberal Democrats could have fought a more negative campaign than the one they did in Durham," she said.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State Shaun Woodward retained his St Helens and Whiston seat with a majority of 14,122.

NIO minister Paul Goggins won a majority of 7,575 in Wythenshawe and Sale East despite a swing of 5.7% from Labour to the Conservatives.

Shadow Secretary of State Owen Paterson easily retained his seat in Shropshire North, winning a majority of 15,828 over the Liberal Democrat in second place.



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