Every general election will throw up its fair share of ‘shock results’. And the 2024 ‘dash for Westminster’ was no different in this regard.

The stand-out moment of the entire process was the election of Jim Allister in the North Antrim constituency. He unseated the incumbent Ian Paisley by a few hundred votes.

For the record, the Paisley family has held the North Antrim seat at Westminster going back to 1970.

So, who is the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party?

UK general election

A barrister by profession, Allister is noted for his razor-sharp intellect and an ability to get to the very core of an issue in a heartbeat.

He is a man who stands on core Unionist principles and makes no secret of this reality. However, he is a person who has a work ethic that would put most human beings to shame and is scrupulously fair and transparent in the way that he deals with people.

He should make a very good constituency MP.

But more than this, Allister should be good news for farming and food, across the board, once he settles into his new role at Westminster.

Farming and food

In the first instance, he represents a constituency with a vast farming hinterland. In a former life, he was a member of the European Parliament for many years. So he fully understands the complexities of farming policies and how they impact at farm level in a practical way.

No doubt he will also want the significance of production agriculture to be fully recognised by the new Labour government in London.

Hopefully, this will see him push for greater support levels being made available across the sector and commensurate efforts made to ensure that food retailers deliver better prices at the farm gate.

His fundamental priority, though, will be that of getting changes to the Brexit arrangements that ease trading restrictions, as he would view them, between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

He also wants no role for Brussels in determining issues relating to trade arrangements and standards as they apply in Northern Ireland.

Whether Allister will get any joy in this context is the big imponderable. The former UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak hailed the Windsor Framework arrangements, agreed with Brussels, as a fair and equitable Brexit settlement.

And there seems to be a zero possibility of the new Labour administration wanting to re-visit this issue any time soon.