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  1. ITV Report

NI returns two Remain candidates in Euro election

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long and Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson were elected alongside the DUP's Diane Dodds. Credit: Presseye

Northern Ireland has elected three MEPs following the European election, returning two Remain candidates.

Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson topped the poll and Alliance enjoyed a surge in support for leader Naomi Long, while the DUP’s Diane Dodds was elected first after transfers.

Just over 45% of the population went to the polls to return three MEPs to the European Parliament – down by 6.7% on the last European election in 2014.

Unlike the rest of the UK, the Single Transferable Vote system is used in Northern Ireland.

Voters in Northern Ireland went to the polls on Thursday, but counting only got underway at the count centre in Magherafelt on Monday morning.

Sinn Féin candidate Martina Anderson topped the poll with 126,951 first preference votes.

The DUP’s Diane Dodds followed with 124,991 votes, while Alliance’s Naomi Long secured 105,928 first preference votes.

  • VIDEO: First preference votes announced

Eliminated after the first count were the Green Party’s Claire Bailey, UKIP’s Robert Hill, Independent candidates Jane Morrice and Neil McCann and Conservative and Unionist candidate Amandeep Singh Bhogal.

At the second stage of the count, the UUP’s Danny Kennedy was eliminated – leaving the UUP with a representative in Brussels for the first time in 40 years.

UUP candidate Danny Kennedy was eliminated at the second stage. Credit: Presseye

Martina Anderson continued to top the poll with 128,117 votes, followed by the DUP’s Diane Dodds with 127,291 votes.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long received 9,399 transfers – over 6,000 more than any other candidate – to reach 115,327 votes.

The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood reached 80,949 votes and the TUV’s Jim Allister reached 63,872 votes.

However, the final distribution of transfers from Mr Kennedy were enough to take Diane Dodds over the line as the first MEP to be elected with 155,422 votes.

Naomi Long and Martina Anderson followed, leaving Northern Ireland with three female MEPs for the first time.

In the rest of the UK, results came in overnight.

The Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats had a night to remember while the Tories and Labour suffered a backlash.