Candidate number five emerged this week to fight the Upper Bann Westminster election in May – Alliance’s Peter Lavery who takes the place of party veteran Sheila McQuade who died late last year.
Mr Lavery, who is in his mid-20s, is a former pupil of Lismore Comprehensive School, where his mother is vice-principal. He is a first class honours graduate from Queen’s University and works for a consultancy firm in Belfast.
An Aghagallon man, he contested the ABC elections last May and polled well with 589 first preferences in the Lurgan DEA against a 1,438 quota. But he failed to make the council.
He joins sitting MP David Simpson (DUP), Jo-Anne Dobson MLA (UUP), Dolores Kelly MLA (SDLP) and Craigavon Deputy Mayor Catherine Seeley (SF) for the seat which Simpson has occupied since he ousted David Trimble in 2005 with a whopping 5,747 majority – 16,679 against 11,281. He held the seat in 2010 with a decreased majority against Harry Hamill (UUP) – 14,000 against 10,639.
Dobson has never lost an election, making her breakthrough in 2011 by winning a by-election in Lurgan to Craigavon Borough Council in 2011.
Kelly has had three attempts at Westminster, but has been over-shadowed each time by the Sinn Fein candidates. John O’Dowd was her SF adversary last time – he registered 10,237 - 400 ahead of Harry Hamill. Seeley is the new kid on the block, and – after being co-opted to Craigavon Borough Council.