Defeated DUP candidate William McCrea said it was “an honour and a privilege” to serve the people of South Antrim over the past decade.
Dr McCrea was unseated by the Ulster Unionist Party’s Danny Kinahan, who emerged victorious from a hard-fought general election campaign with a majority of more than 900 votes.
Gracious in defeat, Dr McCrea congratulated Mr Kinahan on his success and praised his own MLA colleagues and “diligent staff” for their work for the people of the constituency over the years.
“It has been my honour and privilege to serve the people of South Antrim for the past 10 years. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve them in every capacity and every way that I possibly could,” he commented.
Describing the role of South Antrim MP as “a tremendous task and an onerous task”, Dr McCrea said that he and his staff had done “everything humanly possible to help the people of this constituency.”
“I will be able to leave it with dignity, with integrity and with great pride, honouring the people that I was honoured to serve,” he added.
Paying tribute to his DUP colleague, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said: “I know how hard he worked in the House of Commons; I know how diligent he was on behalf of his constituents, but that’s democracy and people have decided they wanted to change their representative and William recognises that that’s the outcome of democracy.
“He has served the people of South Antrim well. I see how hard he works on a day to day basis and I’m sorry that we have lost a colleague.”