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Liberal unionism survives by skin of its teeth, much to DUP’s chagrin

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For very different reasons, the leaders of the three main unionist parties will be seriously disappointed with the Assembly election results.

But there were key moments in a trio of constituencies that could have transformed the overall picture for each of them and given them serious cause to celebrate.

Had Doug Beattie failed to be re-elected in Upper Bann, the DUP would have been cock-a-hoop. It would have been the end of the UUP leader and his liberal unionism. There had been intense speculation for weeks that Beattie was vulnerable, particularly with party colleague Glenn Barr on the ticket.

The current Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, he is “well got” — as multiple sources put it — among traditional unionist grassroots.

He was warmly received as a speaker at the anti-protocol rally in Markethill where Sammy Wilson was booed.

As votes were counted, it didn’t look good for Beattie. Barr had only a small part of the constituency but he........

© Belfast Telegraph

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