The newly elected MP for South Down, Chris Hazard has thanked everyone who voted for him at last weeks Westminster Election and has spoke of outgoing MP Margaret Ritchie's lifetime in public service.

In a letter to the media the new MP said "I would like to thank everyone in South Down who braved the wet weather to vote in last week’s Westminster election. I particularly want to thank all of the 20,328 people who backed Sinn Féin, and myself, in such historic numbers so as to send the first ever republican MP to Westminster for South Down.

Chris Hazard MP. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Chris Hazard MP. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

"I also want to take this opportunity to thank Margaret Ritchie for a lifetime spent in public service. Whilst politics is often viewed as an adversarial sport, its only right and proper that we take a moment to remember those who lose out come polling day. Whatever Margaret decides to do in the future I wish her all the very best.

"Finally I look forward to being an MP for all in our community and my door is open to all irrespective of the colour of your skin, the name of your church, your sexual orientation or your political affiliation.

"We face huge challenges in the time ahead with BREXIT coming hurtling along the tracks - It is vital we come together as much as possible to protect our public services and create whatever opportunities we can for our future generations."