JOHN Finucane has been returned as MP for North Belfast with an increased majority.

In 2019 there were just under 2,000 votes separating the Sinn Féin man from the DUP's Nigel Dodds. In the early hours of Friday morning at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, he stretched that lead over new DUP challenger Phillip Brett to over 5,500 votes. Turn-out was down at 55 per cent compared to 67.9 per cent four-and-a-half-years-ago.

The final result was:

Phillip Brett (DUP) 12,062
David Clarke (TUV) 2,877
Fiona Ferguson (PBP) 946
John Finucane (Sinn Féin) 17,674 
Nuala McAllister (Alliance) 4,274
Mal O'Hara (Green Party) 1,206
Carl Whyte (SDLP) 1,413

Giving his acceptance speech John Finucane said he wanted to represent everyone in North Belfast.

"Four-and-a-half-years ago I stood here having made history as the first Irish republican to win the seat in North Belfast," he said. "It was a momentous occasion and on that day I made a commitment to the people of North Belfast that I would be there to work with each and every single person in that constituency.

"A constituency that I love, a constituency where I was born, that I have raised my children in, that I care deeply about. And I'm proud to say that I lived up to that commitment that without fear or favour my office has and will continue to work for every single person in North Belfast."

He added: Over the past six weeks I heard what we have heard for years, that people are sick and tired and fed-up with the underfunding of our public services, inflicted by a cruel and malicious Tory government which tonight we are finally seeing the back off.

"My message to the incoming British government is that they need to resource our public services."

He said that Sinn Fein want to work with the Labour government to reset the relationships "that have been damaged so cruelly by the Tories".

"We want to see more power being made here in Ireland, not London, by locally elected ministers for the people here," he added.