Belfast Telegraph

East Londonderry

The outcome of the election in  East Londonderry is perhaps the most predictable on all 18 constituencies which should see the DUP's Gregory Campbell returned as MP.

A whopping 14,663 votes were cast for this DUP giant which represented 42% of the total votes cast - an impressive increase of 7.6% on the previous election.

It is difficult to see how anyone will oust him from his seat which he has held since 2001 when he took it from the Ulster Unionist's William Ross.

The overwhelming majority of voters in this constituency are from the Unionist tradition but changes to the boundary in 2010 brought the mainly nationalist Banagher and Claudy into the mix.

While there are no prizes for second place in the fight for a Westminster seat, this is where the drama and interest will be.

Just a few weeks ago during the Assembly Election count at Foyle Arena more than a few eyebrows were raised when Sinn Fein's Caoimhe Archibald topped the poll with 5,851 votes - over 400 more that the DUP's Maurice Bradley.

Ms Archibald was Sinn Fein's Westminster candidate in 2015 when she polled a respectable 6,859 and the party's vote has steadily increased in every election since 2010 so it will be interesting to see if this climb continues.

There are six candidates running in East Derry and while the DUP, Alliance and Conservatives are fielding candidates who have all contested the Westminster seat previously, the UUP, Sinn Fein and SDLP candidates may not be so familiar to the electorate.

The UUP's Richard Holmes, Sinn Fein's Dermot Nicholl and the SDLP's Stephanie Quigley are all sitting councillors with Causeway Coast and Glens Council but none of them are particularly high profile or controversial figures.

It will be interesting to see if the electorate come out in the same number as they did for the Assembly election or if it will be a case of staying at home in the knowledge that the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

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