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Gregory Campbell hails "fantastic" victory - The Irish News
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Gregory Campbell hails "fantastic" victory

07/05/2015: Gregory Campbell after winning his seat, with wife Frances at the East Derry general election count, held at Templemore, Derry. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Seamus McKinney

There was never a doubt that the DUP's Gregory Campbell would retain his East Derry seat.

However, the nature of his victory was impressive. Despite a much lower turnout, the Derry city unionist managed to increase his vote and his percentage share.

The result placed him almost 8,000 votes ahead of the nearest candidate, Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald.

It also left the DUP firebrand in fighting mood as he told supporters his party was “on the way up”.

In a late night victory speech at Derry's Templemore sports complex, Campbell claimed his performance was all the more impressive because it followed attempts to “denigrate” both him and his party.

“Many people did their worst; many in the media did their worst.”

He added: “I was pretty confident we would win but not by the margin we did. It was a fantastic achievement.”

While the election was a triumph for the DUP, it was an unhappy experience for both the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP.

Limavady SDLP veteran Gerry Mullan's share of the vote fell by 3.5% while William McCandless of the Ulster Unionist Party saw a drop of 2.8% on UCUNF in 2010.

For Sinn Fein, Caoimhe Archibald enjoyed a good first outing. She replaced assembly member Cathal Ó hOisín as the party's East Derry candidate and came home with a respectable 6,859 votes, a 0.7% increase on 2010.

Election new-comer Elizabeth St Clair-Legge attracted 422 votes for the Conservatives, despite her lack of links to the East Derry area, but managed to be outpolled by Neal Paine for the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party.

And while he has won no favour with Irish speakers for his mockery of the Irish language in Stormont, Campbell did at least appear to extend the hand of friendship to French voters in his acceptance speech yesterday.

He told the party faithful “Je ne regrettte rien.”

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Name Party Votes Share +/-

Gregory Campbell DUP 14,663 42.2 +7.6

Caoimhe Archibald SF 6,859 19.8 +0.5

William McCandless UUP 5,333 15.4

Gerry Mullan SDLP 4,268 12.3 -3.2

Yvonne Boyle Alliance 2,642 7.6 +2.1

Neil Paine CSA 527 1.52

Liz St Clair-Legge C 422 1.2 -16.6

Majority: 7,804 Turnout: 51.9%

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