Mark Durkan successfully repelled attempts by Sinn Fein to wrestle the Foyle seat from the SDLP with a comfortable winning margin of almost 5,000 over high profile candidate Martina Anderson.
Mr Durkan, who stepped down as SDLP leader last year to concentrate on Westminster, said he had no doubt that the political expenses scandals as well as the general economic situation weighed heavily on the voters' minds.
"I got it on the doorstep throughout the campaign. People's apathy against politics is a real concern for us all and the fact that only one candidate in this constituency, Eamonn McCann, increased his vote is a message to us all.
"It is time Sinn Fein respect my mandate instead of putting it about that I was elected by Unionist votes. The figures don't back up that argument at all.
"The electorate in Foyle has voted for a hardworking candidate, someone they knew will be in Westminster fighting for their rights and listening to their rational, measured and valid criticisms," he said.