Gregory Campbell labelled 'MP for north's redundancy capital'
EAST Derry's UUP Westminster candidate has launched a stinging attack on Gregory Campbell's record of standing up for his constituency's economic interests.
However, the strong words from Garvagh councillor and businessman Richard Holmes have failed to get a rise from the often-outspoken DUP MP.
Mr Holmes said "insulting comments" about the Irish language did not bring prosperity to an area that over the past decade has suffered several major jobs blows.
Ahead of Thursday's general election, the DUP and UUP have forged a pact to ensure single unionist candidates contest East Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, however, it would appear there is little love lost between the parties' candidates in East Derry.
Mr Holmes said he feared for his constituency if the "current trend of economic failure" continues.
"The campaign trail has taken me all across this constituency and the number one issue that comes up on the doors is the need for jobs," he said.
"It seems the only growth industry we have is Translink taking people to Belfast to work – this fig leaf is all that disguises the fact that we are effectively Northern Ireland’s redundancy capital."
The Ulster Unionist councillor cited the closure of private sector employers Seagate and Farm Fed, and job losses at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Coleraine.
He said what was "once an economic powerhouse has been left destitute" and asked if the area's MP was "sleep at the wheel".
Mr Holmes likened characterised East Derry as similar to the scenes in the Bruce Springsteen song 'My City Of Ruins' before calling for a long-term plan to attract investment.
"Insulting comments on the Irish language may go down well with some, but they do not put money in the bank and food on the table," he said.
"An MP needs to respect all and serve all – a consistent focus on the key issues is required by whoever we elect as MP."