THE return of Tom Elliott to elected politics had been tipped for a while. A former MP for the constituency, he had been working away in the background for his former schoolteacher, Rosemary Barton, who he ousted as an MLA on Saturday afternoon.

Mrs. Barton's defeat at the ballot box means that the Ulster Unionists will now no longer have any female representative at Stormont among their 10 MLAs.

Mr. Elliott was the highest-polling Unionist in Fermanagh and South Tyrone – a position once occupied by former First Minister Arlene Foster.


Tom Elliott, UUP, during following his victory in The Northern Ireland, Assembly Elections, Magherafelt, 2022.

Tom Elliott, UUP, during following his victory in The Northern Ireland, Assembly Elections, Magherafelt, 2022.


He claimed 5,442 first preference votes, with running mate Mrs. Barton claiming 2,912 first preference votes on the day, leading to their victory and defeat, respectively.

READ MORE: Established parties hold their ground in the area but Unionist vote splits further

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter following his election, Mr. Elliott said: “I am clearly disappointed that Rosemary was eliminated. We came into this as a joint ticket, hoping that there was a potential for two seats for Rosemary and I.

"But we did increase our vote; we increased it by about two and a half thousand or thereabouts in Fermanagh and South Tyrone."

Mr. Elliott continued: “There is a huge amount of work now [for MLAs to look at]. Will the Assembly even meet? Will the Executive get together? These are questions I don’t have the answer to.”

Mr. Elliott made it clear that his aspirations in this election are bringing “thorough representation to the west [of the Bann]”.


Rosemary Barton, UUP

Rosemary Barton, UUP



He laughed off this newspaper's question if he might make a run for UUP leader, saying: “We have our leader at the moment; I’ve had my time as leader, and I don’t think I have any willingness to go back to it. I was disappointed by the result yesterday."

On the question of whether there were two seats for the UUP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Mrs. Barton said: “We were quietly confident initially when we discussed the number of members to run in the area. We were quietly confident that there were two seats.

“I think the future for Unionism in Fermanagh and South Tyrone is good; the seat has now been taken over by Tom Elliott.

"He will be an excellent representative, and a strong voice for Ulster Unionism in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The future will be safe with him.”

Mrs. Barton didn’t rule out that she would exit the political stage, saying she would “still keep my fingers in politics". She added: "I will still hopefully be helping out the Unionist party in Fermanagh South Tyrone.”

READ MORE: Denzil McDaniel offers his analysis on the 2022 Assembly Election