General Election 2017: East Londonderry win for Campbell almost certain

A general view of Coleraine town centre in East Londonderry

A general view of Coleraine town centre in East Londonderry

Anything other than a victory for the DUP’s Gregory Campbell in East Londonderry would represent an enormous upset in what is perhaps Northern Ireland’s safest seat.

Mr Campbell has been returned as MP in every general election in the overwhelmingly unionist constituency since 2001, when he outpolled the UUP’s William Ross by a margin of less than 1,000 votes.

In the decade-and-a-half since then, he has gone on to secure nearly double the votes of his closest challenger in every subsequent Westminster poll.

Last time around, he increased his margin of victory substantially.

His nearest rival in 2015 was Sinn Féin’s Caoimhe Archibald on 6,859 votes. In contrast, Gregory Campbell’s total of 14,663 represented a huge 42.2% of the overall vote.

The Ulster Unionist Party, who failed to return an MLA in East Londonderry during the Assembly elections, might consider second-place a victory of sorts if their candidate Richard Holmes can manage it.

Sinn Féin have been steadily increasing their share of the vote in East Londonderry in every general election since 1997, when the votes cast for the republican party represented less than a tenth of the overall total.

In 2015, it was up to 19.5%. Dermot Nicholl will be hoping he can continue that trend for Sinn Féin.

Both Mr Nicholl and Mr Holmes are sitting councillors in the Causeway Coast and Glens and are joined on the ballot by another councillor, Stephanie Quigley of the SDLP, who will be hoping to arrest the decline in her party’s vote share.

Chris McCaw also stands for Alliance, and Liz St Clair-Legge is standing for the Conservatives.

Candidates for 2017:

• Gregory Campbell, DUP

• Richard Holmes, UUP

• Chris McCaw, Alliance

• Dermot Nicholl, Sinn Fein

• Stephanie Quigley, SDLP

• Liz St Clair-Legge, Conservatives

2015 results:

G Campbell (DUP): 14,663 (42.2%)

C Archibald (SF): 6,859 (19.8%)

W McCandless (UUP): 5,333 (15.4%)

G Mullan (SDLP): 4,268 (12.3%)

Y Boyle (Alliance): 2,642 (7.6%)

N Paine (CISTA): 527 (1.5%)

E St Clair-Legge (Cons.): 422 (1.2%)

Electorate: 66,926

Turnout: 34,965 (52.2%)

Combined unionist vote: 58.8%

2010 results:

G Campbell (DUP): 12,097 (34.6%)

C Ó hOisín (SF): 6,742 (19.3%)

L Macaulay (Ulster Cons. and Unionists): 6,218 (17.8%)

T Conway (SDLP): 5,399 (15.5%)

W Ross (TUV): 2,572 (7.4%)

B Fitzpatrick (Alliance): 1,922 (5.5%)

Electorate: 63,220

Turnout: 35,086 (55.5%)

Combined unionist vote: 59.8%