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UUP got my vote in Foyle, reveals leader of SDLP

By Leona O'Neill

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was out early to cast his vote in Londonderry - giving Foyle Ulster Unionist candidate Julia Kee his stamp of approval.

The 33-year-old party leader was accompanied by his wife Rachael and daughter Rosa as he cast his vote at the Model Primary School near the city centre.

He said he was feeling very confident about the outcome of yesterday's election and voted for candidates "right down the ballot paper".

"I'm feeling very good, we have worked very hard," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"This is a very important election, probably the most important election since the Good Friday Agreement referendum.

"People have an opportunity here to save devolution, or we are going to have direct rule if we keep voting DUP and Sinn Fein.

"Hopefully, we have a chance to make a change here, to protect the institutions that we have fought so hard to have. And that is what is at stake in this election. We are hoping that people will come out and vote, and vote the right way.

The UUP leader Mike Nesbitt sparked debate when he said he would select an SDLP candidate as his second preference after his own party.

The move caused a major stir in his party, with one party member resigning and others refusing to back Mr Nesbitt's stance.

But the SDLP leader appears to have reciprocated the gesture.

"I did vote for the UUP candidate," said Mr Eastwood. "I voted right down the ballot paper. There were a few candidates that I didn't vote for, but they will not be surprised by that."

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness was not in attendance when his wife Bernie and their daughter Grainne arrived at the Model Primary School polling station to cast their votes this morning. Mrs McGuinness did not speak to the media gathered outside.

Voting was reported as 'steady' across Derry yesterday.

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