1983 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland

The 1983 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland was held on 9 June with 17 MPs elected in single-seat constituencies using first-past-the-post as part of the wider general election in the United Kingdom. This was an increase of five seats, after the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1979 had come into effect to account for the reduced representation after direct rule had been imposed since 1972.

1983 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland

 1979 9 June 1983 1987 

17 seats in Northern Ireland of the 650 seats in the House of Commons
  First party Second party
Leader James Molyneaux Ian Paisley
Leader since 1979 1971
Leader's seat Lagan Valley Antrim North
Seats won 11 3
Seat change 6
Popular vote 259,952 152,749
Percentage 34.0% 20.0%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader John Hume Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Party SDLP Sinn Féin
Leader since 6 May 1979 1970
Leader's seat Foyle Did not stand
Seats won 1 1
Seat change 1
Popular vote 137,012 102,701
Percentage 17.9% 13.4%


The Conservative Party led by Margaret Thatcher as prime minister won another term in government.

The main beneficiaries of the increase of seats was the Ulster Unionist Party, now led by James Molyneaux. The SDLP lost a seat held by former leader Gerry Fitt to Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin, but the new SDLP leader John Hume gained a seat.

Party MPs Votes
No. Change No. % Change
UUP 11 6 259,952 34.0% 2.6
DUP 3 152,749 20.0% 9.8
SDLP 1 137,012 17.9% 0.3
Sinn Féin 1 1 102,701 13.4% 13.4
UPUP 1 New 22,681 3.0% 3.0
Independent Unionist 1 1 36,989 5.5% 4.8
Alliance 0 61,275 8.0% 3.9
Workers' Party 0 14,650 1.9% 0.2
Independent Socialist 0 10,326 1.3% 1.3
Independent DUP 0 1,134 0.1% 1.3
Independent 0 2,265 0.3% 0.1
Total 17 5 801734 100

MPs elected

Constituency Party MP
Antrim East UUP Roy Beggs
Antrim North DUP Ian Paisley
Antrim South UUP Clifford Forsythe
Belfast East DUP Peter Robinson
Belfast North UUP Cecil Walker
Belfast South UUP Martin Smyth
Belfast West Sinn Féin Gerry Adams
Down North UPUP Jim Kilfedder
Down South UUP Enoch Powell
Fermanagh and South Tyrone UUP Ken Maginnis
Foyle SDLP John Hume
Lagan Valley UUP James Molyneaux
Londonderry East UUP William Ross
Mid Ulster DUP William McCrea
Newry and Armagh UUP John Dunlop
Strangford UUP John Taylor
Upper Bann UUP Harold McCusker


In December 1985, all Unionist MPs resigned their seats in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and sought re-election in by-elections. These resulted in a loss of one seat to the SDLP

Antrim North 23 January 1986 Ian Paisley DUP Ian Paisley DUP Resignation
Antrim East 23 January 1986 Roy Beggs UUP Roy Beggs UUP Resignation
Antrim South 23 January 1986 Clifford Forsythe UUP Clifford Forsythe UUP Resignation
Belfast East 23 January 1986 Peter Robinson DUP Peter Robinson DUP Resignation
Belfast North 23 January 1986 Cecil Walker UUP Cecil Walker UUP Resignation
Belfast South 23 January 1986 Martin Smyth UUP Martin Smyth UUP Resignation
Down North 23 January 1986 James Kilfedder UPUP James Kilfedder UPUP Resignation
Down South 23 January 1986 Enoch Powell UUP Enoch Powell UUP Resignation
Fermanagh and South Tyrone 23 January 1986 Ken Maginnis UUP Ken Maginnis UUP Resignation
Lagan Valley 23 January 1986 James Molyneaux UUP James Molyneaux UUP Resignation
East Londonderry 23 January 1986 William Ross UUP William Ross UUP Resignation
Mid Ulster 23 January 1986 William McCrea DUP William McCrea DUP Resignation
Strangford 23 January 1986 John Taylor UUP John Taylor UUP Resignation
Newry and Armagh 23 January 1986 James Nicholson UUP Seamus Mallon SDLP Resignation
Upper Bann 23 January 1986 Harold McCusker UUP Harold McCusker UUP Resignation


  1. Walker, Brian Mercer (1992). Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1918–1992 (New History of Ireland). Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. pp. 33–37. ISBN 0901714968.
  2. "Elections to the United Kingdom Parliament held in Northern Ireland: General Election 9 June 1983". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  3. "Westminster election, 9 June 1983". ARK: Northern Ireland Elections. Retrieved 9 March 2019.