Barely 23% of the electorate turned out to vote – hardly surprising since the election result was virtually a certainty, and the election received almost no publicity at all due to the Robinson affair. (NB the News Letter article gives a different turn-out, but if the correct one is used the turnout seems to be 23.1%)
The result was, however, as this blog anticipated – a clear victory for the UUP candidate. Jo-Anne Dobson took 63.9% of the vote for the UUP, followed by the TUV's David Calvert on 19.3%. So the TUV lost the seat, and the spirit, if not the word, of the deal agreed between the DUP and the TUV last August was shattered. Relations between the two parties will plummet to another low. Had the DUP known that Iris Robinson was going to have to resign from Castlereagh Borough Council, then they might have been keener on keeping the 'co-option' deal alive. But now, with the TUV looking for revenge – and with a TUV councillor, Charlie Tosh, on Castlereagh Council – there will be no co-option for Robinson's seat.
No conclusions can be drawn from the increased nationalist percentage (16.8%) compared with 2005 as a result of the extremely low turnout, but it is interesting to note that Sinn Féin increased its lead over the SDLP – taking 61% of the nationalist vote compared to 54% in 2005 (and 47% in 2001).
The full result of the by-election in Lurgan was:
Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP): 2,494 (63.9%)
David Calvert (TUV): 752 (19.2%)
Liam Mackle (SF): 401 (10.3%)
Patrick McDade (SDLP): 256 (6.6%)