No surprises in East Londonderry as Gregory Campbell retains his seat

In one of the most unsurprising victories of the election, the DUP’s Gregory Campbell has retained his seat in East Londonderry.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 2:19 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 2:29 pm
East Londonderry: Gregory Campbell pictured after winning his seat at the count centre in Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

With a lion’s share of the vote at 15,765, Mr Campbell was returned comfortably.

“When those who try to analyse and say votes are down, I hope they will look at the vote we got in East Londonderry and see that our majority is up,” he said.

“That’s because the people here want a hard-working, effective hard-hitting MP who doesn’t pull any punches and that’s what they will get in the next few years.

“We will wait to see the outcome, and hopefully all parties commit to get back to Stormont to make this country the best country in the United Kingdom and make it a much more prosperous country we’ve had in the past.

Speaking before his win, Mr Campbell said the onus was on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver on his Brexit promises, adding: “Well, whatever majority Boris has there will be an onus on him to deliver on no checks east-west and an even bigger issue on how does he preside over the UK, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and how does he cement that and build that for the future.

“In my view, he has to do that on an economic basis, so that people here and in Scotland see a tangible benefit of staying in the UK, and then people will want to stay.”

On a border down the Irish Sea, he said: “Boris has said there won’t be so, we shall see.”

And on whether he trusts Mr Johnson: “We shall see.”

Cara Hunter, the deputy mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council, who contested the seat for the SDLP, improved on the party’s performance in 2017 and came second to Mr. Campbell polling 6,158 (15.59%).

Sinn Fein’s Dermot Nicholl came third with 6,128 (15.51%).

Chris McCaw of Alliance won 5,921 (14.99%); Richard Holmes of the UUP won 3,599 votes (9.11%); and Sean McNicholl of Aontú won 1,731 (4.38%).

Of a total eligible electorate of 69,246, just 39,495 (57.04%) turned out, down on 2017.

East Londonderry covers some of Northern Ireland’s coastal towns including Coleraine, Limavady, Portrush, Portstewart, Bushmills and Portballintrae.

The seat was created in boundary changes in 1983, as part of an expansion of Northern Ireland’s constituencies from 12 to 17, and was predominantly made up from the old Londonderry constituency.

It has always been in the hands of unionism. The previous MP was the UUP’s Willie Ross but he was defeated by Mr Campbell in 2001, who has held the seat since.