Belfast Telegraph

East Antrim

Despite his views on breastfeeding in public and a row over his alleged comments on ethnic minorities, the DUP will be feeling confident that larger-than-life candidate Sammy Wilson will once again emerge triumphant in the East Antrim constituency.

In 2015, the outspoken DUP representative topped the poll with 12,103 votes, equivalent to 36.1% of the vote and nearly twice that of the next most popular candidate, the UUP’s Roy Beggs.

While Mr Beggs garnered a respectable 6,308 votes in the contest, representing 18.8%, he is not taking part in the race.

Instead, the party has chosen to put forward relative newcomer John Stewart, a former councillor on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council who clinched his first Assembly seat in March.

Then, Mr Stewart was the last candidate to be elected, while Mr Beggs got through on the sixth count. The party will be hoping that his fresh-faced appeal will be enough to make up for the loss of Mr Beggs’ high electoral profile.

Also running again for Westminster will be veteran Sinn Fein representative Oliver McMullan, who lost his Stormont seat to Mr Stewart in March.

In the 2015 General Election, Mr McMullan achieved nearly 2,314 votes, equivalent to 6.9%, but will have to consolidate this substantially if he is to threaten Mr Wilson’s form this time round.

Alliance party stalwart Stewart Dickson, who was recently re-elected to Stormont, is once again representing his party’s interests at Westminster in the East Antrim constituency.

Two years ago, Mr Dickson polled well, with 5,021 total votes, a share of 15% of votes cast.

However, like Mr McMullan, he will likely need to make substantial headway to put a dent in Mr Wilson’s winning form.

Also running again this year is the SDLP’s Margaret Anne McKillop, who claimed just under 5% of the vote in 2015, and Mark Logan will represent the Conservative party.

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