Sinn Fein's historic result could increase pressure for Irish unity referendum

Sinn Fein has won the most Northern Ireland seats at Westminster for the first time.

It marks a historic hat-trick for the party which is already the largest in local government and at Stormont.

Sinn Fein held its seven seats, and will pile pressure on the new Labour government to set a timeline for a referendum on Irish unity.

Election results latest: Follow live as Labour wins landslide

The Democratic Unionist Party lost three of its eight seats, including Lagan Valley, which its former leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, had held for 27 years.

Sir Jeffrey resigned from the party in April and is currently awaiting trial on historical sex charges.

But the fall of the DUP's Ian Paisley in North Antrim was the result no one saw coming.

It is the first time in 54 years the seat has not been held by "the house of Paisley".

His late father, the Reverend Ian Paisley, who founded the DUP, first won it in 1970.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader, Jim Allister, who fiercely opposes power-sharing in Northern Ireland, pulled off a shock victory.

The TUV have an election pact with Reform UK - although Nigel Farage endorsed Mr Paisley.

Sinn Fein now holds the largest number of seats in local government, at Stormont and at Westminster.

But there has not been a significant change in terms of Unionist/Nationalist vote share.

Of the three seats lost by the DUP, one was won by the Ulster Unionists, one by the Traditional Unionist Voice and one by an independent Unionist.

Read more:
Who is your local MP now?
Most significant things that happened overnight

The middle of the road Alliance party gained one and lost one, its leader Naomi Long failing in her attempt to oust the DUP leader Gavin Robinson in East Belfast.

Sinn Fein's historic result means most Northern Ireland seats in the Commons will be unoccupied.

For more than a century, the Irish Republican party has refused to sit in Westminster in opposition to British rule in Northern Ireland.

After the 2019 election, the DUP held eight seats, Sinn Fein seven, the SDLP two and the Alliance Party one.

Following the results, Northern Ireland's parliamentary makeup is as follows:

Sinn Fein: Seven;
DUP: Four;
SDLP: two;
Alliance: one;
UUP: one;
TUV: one;
Independent Unionist; one.

The DUP's losses come following a period in the limelight after it propped up Theresa May's government and became central to the debate around Brexit.

However, it opposed the imposition of a trade border in the Irish Sea and clashed with the UK government repeatedly in the past few years.