The final tally of Conservative MEPs reached 26 late this afternoon, as the re-election of Jim Nicholson (pictured) was confirmed as a representative of the the Conservatives and Unionists in Northern Ireland.
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, was at the count in Belfast and greeted the news as "an important step in our efforts to establish normal UK politics in Northern Ireland"
"Jim stood on a national manifesto, will sit as a Conservative and Unionist MEP and will be a leading member of our new influential Group. We are the only Party to stand in every part of the UK. We topped the poll in Wales and polled strongly in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. Twenty-six Conservative and Unionist MEPs will now represent all corners of the UK in the European Parliament. We look forward with confidence to the General Election. We believe that people in Northern Ireland will relish the chance to vote out this Labour Government and their allies."