Foyle: SDLP’s Mark Durkan retains parliamentary seat

MP achieves biggest winning margin since succeeding John Hume in constituency

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who has retained his seat in the Foyle constituency in Co Derry. Photograph:  Peter Muhly/AFP/GettyImages

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who has retained his seat in the Foyle constituency in Co Derry. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/GettyImages

 

The SDLP’s Mark Durkan comfortably retained his parliamentary seat in the Foyle constituency in Co Derry, with his biggest ever winning margin since succeeding former party leader John Hume to the seat in 2005.

Mr Durkan polled 17,725 votes, more than 6,000 votes ahead of second-placed Gearóid Ó hEára of Sinn Féin, who polled 11,679.

Mr Durkan’s increased majority came despite a lower poll in this year’s vote compared with the 2010 general election, when he had a majority over Sinn Féin of 4,824 votes.

In third place came the DUP’s Gary Middleton, who in his acceptance speech said: “Not bad for a 24-year-old.”

The only woman on the Foyle constituency ballot paper, Julia Kee of the UUP, came fourth, in her first political outing.

The Alliance Party candidate, David Hawthorne, finished just two votes ahead of Ukip’s Kyle Thompson, while the seventh and last place went to the Conservative candidate, Hamish Badenoch.

Acceptance speech

ln his acceptance speech, Mr Durkan referred to recent attacks on the homes of Sinn Féin members during the election campaign, including the home of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, and said that he stood in solidarity with those who had been attacked or threatened.

“It is important that we continue to promote our different arguments through the democratic process, and tonight I stand in solidarity with those in other parties who have been victimised or threatened in any way. This election is a victory for everyone who took part in the democratic process,” Mr Durkan said.