Election results: DUP suffers bruising night as nationalists and republicans gain upper hand in Northern Ireland

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has suffered a disastrous general election with its deputy leader losing his seat.

Northern Ireland now has more nationalist and republican members of parliament after the DUP lost two of the 10 with whom it entered the contest.

Nigel Dodds went down to an unprecedented defeat to Sinn Fein‘s John Finucane in North Belfast – the first time a nationalist has ever taken the constituency.

South Belfast was also lost, with the nationalist SDLP taking control.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she was disappointed but insisted her job was not under threat.

“If you look at the votes you will find the greater number of people in Northern Ireland still want to remain within the UK. That to me is a very important point,” she said.

Brexit was a huge issue in the Northern Ireland contest, with Sinn Fein believing Britain’s exit from the EU may provide new opportunities for a united Ireland if the remain-backing province is forced to leave the bloc against its will.

The torrid night for the DUP came as Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party secured its biggest majority since 1987. It means there is no need for the PM to continue the confidence and supply arrangement his predecessor had negotiated with Ms Foster.

In defeat, Mr Dodds said it was clear Brexit was going to happen and that it was important to restore devolved power-sharing at Stormont.

He added: “Boris Johnson needs to understand that we must have a Brexit that ensures that it protects the integrity of the United Kingdom and is the best deal for Northern Ireland and that is something we will continue to work with the government on in the days ahead.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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