Northern Ireland

Diane Dodds, DUP, re-elected as MEP

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Media captionDiane Dodds has been returned as the second of Northern Ireland's three MEPs

The Democratic Unionist Party's Diane Dodds has been re-elected as a Member of the European Parliament.

She reached the quota on the seventh round of the count after getting transfers from the TUV's Jim Allister.

On Monday, Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson retained her MEP seat after topping the poll in the European elections.

The third seat in Northern Ireland's constituency has yet to be decided. It is between Jim Nicholson of the Ulster Unionist Party and Alex Attwood, SDLP.

Mrs Dodds, whose election was greeted by loud cheers from supporters inside the King's Hall count centre in Belfast, said she would fight to secure the best deal for Northern Ireland in Europe.

"The DUP has always been a Eurosceptic party, we are not Johnny-come-latelys to Euroscepticism," she said.

"What we do believe is that this election really wasn't about whether we are in Europe or out of Europe.

"This election was really about who would go back to Europe to get the best deal for Northern Ireland, to work hard for Northern Ireland, to stand up for Northern Ireland.

"That's what I will be doing, as well as continuing my campaign for a referendum to give the British people their democratic say on our relationship with Europe."

Counting began on Monday at the King's Hall in Belfast and was suspended at 00:40 BST on Tuesday after almost 16 hours.

It took just over nine hours for the first preference votes to be confirmed.

Martina Anderson took just over a quarter of the vote, with 159,813 first preferences.

Counting resumed on Tuesday at 09:00 BST and by 15:45 BST Anna Lo of Alliance and Jim Allister of the TUV had been eliminated.

Others eliminated earlier in the count were Henry Reilly UKIP, Mark Brotherston from the NI Conservatives, Tina McKenzie, NI21, and Ross Brown of the Green Party.

Ten candidates had been competing for the three seats in Europe.

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland has been criticised for its handling of the process.

But chief electoral officer Graham Shields said the episode underlined the need for electronic vote counting in Northern Ireland.

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