Statement by Jim Allister:
“There has been much self-serving propaganda of late from the DUP about the damage caused to Unionism by a “split in the vote”. They allege that in three constituencies – Strangford, East Antrim and North Antrim – there were four quotas of first preference unionist votes, but only three elected. Even this is not accurate. In East Antrim there were not four unionist quotas, only 3.8. Though, sadly, 1,085 Unionist votes failed to transfer to the remaining Unionist, TUV’s Norman Boyd, when the UUP’s Roy Beggs went out of the race and John Stewart (also UUP) was elected above quota.
“In Strangford the gap between the second Alliance candidate and the TUV’s Stephen Cooper when it came to the last seat was 250. A total of 233 UUP votes and 121 DUP votes were lost to the Unionist family through the various stages of the Strangford count, more than the gap between Stephen and Alliance for the final seat. And in Lagan Valley 9.7% of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s surplus did not transfer within the unionist family.
“In North Antrim the real problem the DUP faced was not a lack of transfers from other Unionist parties but a collapse in their own vote in the order of some 16%. Yet, somehow it is everyone else’s fault!
“What we can say with certainty is that 11 Unionist MLAs were elected with the help of TUV transfers – Trevor Clarke and Pam Cameron in South Antrim, David Books and Andy Allen in East Belfast, Brian Kingston in North Belfast, Edwin Poots in South Belfast, Dianne Forsythe in South Down, Tom Elliott in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Alan Robinson in East Londonderry and Dianne Dodds and Doug Bettie in Upper Bann.
“So, TUV’s 65,000 votes were not wasted. And with TUV being the only unionist party to increase its share of the vote it is clear that having TUV candidates across the country maximised the unionist turnout, as everyone had someone to vote for and when they did so TUV voters overwhelmingly transferred to help other unionists.
“I therefore refute the attempted inference that voting for any party other than DUP shredded the vote. There is no ‘divine right’ to be elected, but maximising the choice and urging full use of transfers, as TUV did, maximises the unionist vote.”