Assembly Election: East Derry

East Derry is a constituency which includes Coleraine, Limavady, Dungiven,and some coastal towns. Traditionally unionist but with a large Catholic minority and a university (UUC) at Coleraine.

East Derry..Currently there are five MLAs…DUP (2) SDLP (1) Sinn Féin (1)). Independent Unionist (1)

On Monday, I was in Coleraine. Actually a lot of evidence of the election.

The spreadsheet shows Assembly 2017 and Westminster 2019 results. For the benefit of folks in USA, it is important to understand that Assembly is decided in eighteen constituencies where having a quota of votes is required to win one of five seats. And Westminster is decided on a simple “first past the post” vote. I also include the runners and riders for 2022.

The quota is likely to be around 7,000 votes.

DUP have two MLAs. The candidates this time are Maurice Bradley and Alan Robinson, whose father is an outgoing MLA. Neither are well known outside the constituency so at least one will be vulnerable to a swing against DUP.

Darryl Wilson. The UUP lost its quota here after internal dispute when David McClarty who left the party in 2011 and died in 2014. He nominated his staffer Claire Sugden to succeed him and she has been in the Assembly since.

Claire Sugden, former staffer of David McClarty who has been in Assembly since 2014. She has served as Minister for Justice from 2016 to 2017. All Independents have a shelf life and I expect Claire Sugden will find votes drifting away from her to UUP and Alliance.

Jordan Armstrong’s second successive Assembly election and likely to take some votes from DUP.

Caoimhe Archibald is an outgoing MLA and Kathleen McGurk is a newcomer. Sinn Féin have more than one quota.

Cara Hunter stood in the 2019 Westminster election. And surprisingly came second. In 2020, she was seconded to replace John Dallat who had died. This caused some local resentment. In recent years, the local party has bee n having too many disputes. Will it cost the SDLP a seat? Cara was the victim of sectarian abuse during the campaign.

No meaningful track record for the Greens in East Derry so Mark Coulson will do well to get 1,000 votes.

Peopl Before Profit stood in 2017 and Amy Merron will be hoping for 1,000 votes.

Ah the one to watch. McCaw turned 2,000 votes in 2017 into 6,000 in 2019. On his side Alliance will have momentum.

But this is a field with sixteen candidates.

Gemma Brolly an Irish language teacher. Aontú have been under-estimated in this election. This is one of their heartlands.

For the second successive Assembly election, a split in the SDLP.

In 2017, Gerry Mullan was de-selected and stood as an Independent. It nearly cost the SDLP candidate John Dallat a seat.

Stephanie Quigley stood for SDLP in 2017 Westminster election and I would have assumed natural successor to John Dallat’s seat.

She did not stand in the 2019 Westminster election and Cara Hunter performed well, taking second place. This handed pole position to Cara who was then co-opted for Stormont.

Russell Watton PUP. Scored almost 1,000 votes in 2017. Probably less this time.

Billy Stewart no impact.

Niall Murphy will not make an impact.

PREDICTION

No but a very long count. I am not a regular visitor to Coleraine but I was at a funeral in the Catholic church some years ago and discovered there is a small nationalist housing estate across the River Bann from the town centre.

Actually it is quite a lot bigger and more assertive than I recall.

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20 Responses to Assembly Election: East Derry

  1. Derek says:

    Thank you. These were interesting to read. Interesting comment about Sugden.

    • Thank.
      In respect of Sugden, I think people initially supported her cos she was a “girl” (sic) who worked for McClarty.
      He had left UUP and when he died, they wanted to nominate a successor.
      McClarty felt she was more suited to succeed him.
      It looked tacky.
      And I am sure that everyone in the constituency was on her side.
      Fair play to her for taking the Justice ministry for a year or so and wiping the smile off entitled faces.
      But now she is not a “wee girl”.
      She is just another MLA …an independent and in times of crises an Independent is a luxury.
      I think this is her swansong.

  2. hoboroad says:

    Possible losers
    Peter Weir DUP
    Mike Nesbitt UUP
    Nichola Mallon SDLP
    Rachel Woods Green
    Rosemary Barton UUP

    • I think Weir was inevitable.
      The others all 50-50.
      Deeply disappointing of course. If you add in Cara Hunter (possible), a seat in South Down,Pat Catney and Dolores Kelly.
      Its possible SDLP will have no seats in the Executive.
      That might actually be a good thing rather than being a very minority voice.

  3. Derek says:

    You were right in the sense that Sugden was down. Not quite out this time but nearly.

    • I was right about some things and wrong about things.
      It actually feels like a bereavement. And very difficult to write about. And maybe better when my head is straightened out.

      • Derek says:

        A disappointing election. SDLP had great candidates and put in a lot of work.

      • Vince says:

        Bereavement is the right word John – feel the same way.

      • Yes.
        Yesterday evening I was out for a meal (pre-birthday) with my family.
        I was wearing a Manchester United top with “Granda 5” on the back. Most people assume I have four grandchildren because thats what they see…but there is a fifth (#2) who is always in our hearts.
        When I wear this Man Utd top it is just a symbol that there is someone who would have been 17 there. She died after just a few minutes.
        So maybe I should not used the word bereavement.
        But in the same restaurant as a leading Sinn Féin member last night and with one eye on Brighton vesrus Manchester United.
        It was 1-0 when we went in and 4-0 when we left.
        Perhaps it is more like supporting a terrible football team.
        My sons and teen grandchildren know that it is 2013 since Manchester United won the Premiership and it will be at least five before they are competitive again.

        Thats where SDLP are at.

  4. hoboroad says:

    If you have SDLP and Alliance candidates hugging and taking selfies together and posting them on social media you can understand voters thinking their isn’t much of a difference between the two parties.

    • Exactly!!!! Thank you for saying it.
      This has irritated me totally.
      I get that in a work place environment there are friendships that we have all had.
      I get that after a football match, people can swap shirts and shake hands.
      But I find that these political huggys dont work for me.
      I am accused of being too hard on Alliance. Other that sneering congratulations thru my teeth at some individuals, there are other individuals in other parties that I think are toxic.

      Really really difficult days for me. There are stages of grief, including Denial and Anger etc.
      I was out with my family, a pre-birthday meal and there nothing like grandchildren to make a person feel better.
      I am trying to write a very long piece on how I feel. I am as much thinking about rank and file SDLP members I knew in the 1970s than Dolores Kelly and Nichola Mallon.

  5. hoboroad says:

    Reasons to be cheerful the DUP lost seats. The TUV are totally transfer toxic. The Green s will be waiting in the wings for the Alliance party to screw things up which they will. PBP are still a one man band and at least they keep a Unionist out of West Belfast.

    • Yes I am delighted about the Greens. And Alliance are actually too numerous.
      And Alliance are still only in three counties. SDLP are in six.so Alliance on their best day ever cannot cross the Bann although they are on a bridge in Banbridge and Portadown.
      And I hope to GOD Tennyson, sites his office away from Lurgan cos I dont want to see it.

      I was convinced Alliance would pick up a seat in West Tyrone and perhaps East Derry so not all bad.

  6. hoboroad says:

    The former English Public School Boy David Ford has already started taking Alliance voters for granted. When a border poll comes the fence sitters will have to get off their rear ends and pick a side. Don’t know and not really interested will not be a option on any ballot paper.

  7. hoboroad says:

    It looks like decision time for Alliance the United Kingdom or the European Union they can’t have both if Boris does what he says next week.

    • Alliance have got their feet under the table.
      The timetable will be interesting.
      If DUP nominate ministers, then they must have been tipped off by the Brits.
      If the Alliance Party nominate ministers, they will be selling out.

  8. hoboroad says:

    I wonder how many Brits will feel when all their holidays are cancelled as all British Aircraft are grounded in retaliation by the EU?

  9. hoboroad says:

    Trump lawyer advised UK government on the Northern Ireland Protocol

    https://on.ft.com/37J2MXt

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