Northern Ireland

Gregory Campbell retains East Derry seat by narrow margin after recount

‘In East Derry we set out to make history, and I think we have done that’ - Kathleen McGurk, Sinn Féin

DUP Candidate for East Derry Gregory Campbell tallies votes at Meadowbank Sports Arena PICTURE: NIALL CARSON (Niall Carson/Niall Carson/PA Wire)

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell retained his seat in East Derry by a narrow margin - scraping through by 179 votes.

In the final count to be completed in the north’s General Election, Mr Campbell was returned as MP, albeit with a greatly reduced majority.

Mr Campbell, who has represented the constituency since 2001, received 11,506 votes, down 4,259 from 2019.

In a close-run contest, which precipitated a Sinn Féin recount request, the DUP grandee beat the Sinn Féin candidate, Kathleen McGurk, by the slim margin of 179 votes.

The number of eligible voters in the East Derry constituency was 75,707 and the total votes polled was 41,430 – a percentage turnout of 54.72%.

Thursday’s re-election means Mr Campbell is now the north’s longest serving MP.

Until this week, East Derry would have been considered the second safest DUP seat, after the Paisley stronghold of North Antrim – which the DUP lost to the TUV.

Speaking following his re-election, Mr Campbell said we lived in “changeable and changing times”.

“There is no disguising that there are still massive political differences between all of us on the platform and out there in the country. But we must build a better future for our people, those we agree with and those we disagree with.

“As we build that better future, there cannot be any rewriting of the past. Those here in Northern Ireland advocating massive change of a political nature, are doomed to failure. We are where we are, let’s show all of the people, that we are up to the task of improving the lives of those we are privileged to represent.”

Ms McGurk said the close contest was not a shock for the people of East Derry.

She added: “It’s maybe not often I agree with Gregory Campbell, but the times are changing. In East Derry we set out to make history, and I think we have done that, even though we didn’t get it over the line this time, we have laid the foundation blocks for that.

“We set out to deliver positive change and strong leadership and I think we have done that in spade loads.”

Cara Hunter of the SDLP came third in East Derry with 5,260 votes; Allister Kyle of TUV was fourth with 4,363 and Richard Stewart from Alliance was fifth with 3, 734.

Gemma Brolly, the Deputy Leader of Aontú, polled 1,043, a good base with which to go forward for a council seat in the next local government elections.

The candidates standing in East Derry were:

Gemma Brolly (Aontú): 1,043 votes.

Gregory Campbell (Democratic Unionist Party): 11,506 votes.

Cara Hunter (SDLP): 5,260 votes.

Allister Kyle (Traditional Unionist Voice): 4,363 votes.

Jen McCahon (Green Party): 445 votes.

Kathleen McGurk (Sinn Féin): 11,327 votes.

Glen Miller (Ulster Unionist Party): 3,412 votes.

Claire Scull (Conservative and Unionist Party): 187 votes.

Richard Stewart (Alliance Party of Northern Ireland): 3,734 votes.