SDLP leader Colum Eastwood takes Foyle seat with one of the biggest majorities anywhere

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has been returned as MP for Foyle following an astonishing performance in the general election in Foyle.

Mr. Eastwood polled exceptionally strongly to defeat the outgoing Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion.

Colum Eastwood celebrates victory in Magherafelt.

Colum Eastwood celebrates victory in Magherafelt.

The SDLP leader received one of the biggest mandates anywhere in this election, amassing 26,881 votes, 57% of the total ballot, a 17.7% surge on the party’s percentage share in the 2017 election.

His majority over his nearest rival, Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion, who polled 9,711 votes (20.7%), was an incredible 17,170. Sinn Féin were down 19% on their breakthrough performance two-and-a-half years ago.

DUP candidate Gary Middleton will be disappointed with his performance on Thursday. He received 4,773 votes (10.1%), substantially down on 2017 when he won 7,398 votes or 16.1 per cent of all votes cast.

That’s a 6 per cent drop. Aontú’s Anne McCloskey 2,032 (4.3 per cent) was the fourth highest polling candidate in the party’s first Westminster poll.

Colum Eastwood is the new MP for Foyle.

Colum Eastwood is the new MP for Foyle.

People Before Profit’s Shaun Harkin was slightly down on his 2017 total polling 1,332 (2.8 per cent). And the Alliance Party’s Rachel Ferguson, who received 1,267 votes (2.7 per cent), and Darren Guy of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who won 1,088 votes (2.3 per cent), failed to make any real impact.

Of a total electorate of 74,346 just 47,370 (63.72 per cent) turned out, which was down in percentage terms on 2017. There were 226 invalid votes, leaving 47,144 valid votes in total.