Page last updated at 06:47 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 07:47 UK

South Down: Margaret Ritchie keeps seat for the SDLP

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie
Margaret Ritchie of the SDLP

The SDLP's new leader Margaret Ritchie has held on to the South Down seat held by her party's outgoing MP, Eddie McGrady.

Ms Ritchie polled 20,648 votes, well ahead of Education Minister Caitriona Ruane of Sinn Fein, with 12,236.

Jim Wells of the DUP received 3,645 votes, John McCallister, Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force, 3,093, Ivor McConnell, TUV, 1,506, Cadogan Enright, Greens, 901, and David Griffin, Alliance Party, 560.

Ms Ritchie was elected as the leader of the SDLP in February of this year and is the sole member of the party in the Northern Ireland Executive.

She said she was "deeply humbled" by the election result.

"I am proud of the people of South Down, because the people of South Down are the salt of the earth and they have shown that they want real representation for all of the community in South Down," she said.

"That is what the vote that I got tonight proves."



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