Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Constituency profile: Londonderry East

Prominent DUP politician Gregory Campbell is defending a majority of 7,727 in this ultra-safe unionist seat.



The two challengers for his crown are local businesswoman Lesley Macaulay, standing for the Conservatives and Unionists, and veteran politician William Ross, the TUV candidate.

Mr Ross has history with this seat?

He was its Ulster Unionist MP from 1983 until 2001, when he was ousted by Mr Campbell.

That result illustrated the start of a shift in unionist opinion away from the UUP to the DUP, as disillusionment over the 1998 Belfast Agreement deepened. Mr Ross, it should be noted, was one of the strongest opponents of that Agreement within the Ulster Unionists.

There has been no change in his uncompromising stance since then, and he is now TUV president.

In this election he's up against a Gregory Campbell standing on a DUP platform that includes ongoing power-sharing with Sinn Fein.

A safe DUP seat?

It would be a major shock if Mr Campbell was toppled here — or even came close to falling.

Lesley Macaulay is cited as a prime example of how the UUP-Tory link-up has attracted new people into politics.

She grew up in Bellaghy and now lives in Portstewart.

The extent of potential support for Mr Ross is hard to gauge.

\[Emily Lea\]The seat is not without significance for the two rival nationalist parties, given that the Assembly election is only a year away.

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