Campbell to retire from Assembly

Gregory Campbell MLA.
Gregory Campbell MLA.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell is to stand down as an Assembly member.

In a statment to The Coleraine Times, the DUP man said: “It is with deep regret I am standing down from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“I have been elected to various formats at Stormont since 1982 and have enjoyed my time immensely representing people there for 34 years. As most people will know, legislation was changed several years ago which meant that dual mandates had to end by the conclusion of the current Assembly mandate, which is this month.

“I intend to remain at Westminster as to have remained at Stormont would have meant the administrative costs of a by-election for the Westminster seat.”

Reflecting on his career, Mr Campbell said: “I entered politics in the 1970s determined even at local Council level that those bent on destroying Unionism would find yet another opponent that they could not break. Whatever venue or stage that has presented itself since those humble days,

“I have maintained that principle throughout and intend to continue in the same vein.

Choosing the right moment to move was always difficult but given my approach to building for the future while not letting others rewrite the past I have decided that this is the best time.

“The end of the current Assembly coincides with Easter. This Easter more than any other reminds militant Irish Republicans of one hundred years of failure, from Easter 1916 to Easter 2016, what better time for me to recognise that than now.

“Easter also speaks to Christians of a brighter future, while making no comparison whatsoever to the spiritual importance of the time of year, in a political sense we must keep building for a brighter future.

“I intend, with the help of Party colleagues, to keep doing that. I have every confidence my successor and their Assembly colleagues will also continue in the same vein.

“Those Irish Republicans who are unable to face up to their past will still be made constantly aware that while they can run, they cannot hide from the truth. I will be here to confront them wherever the opportunity presents itself.

“On an aside, over the course of the past six years as salaries and allowances have been phased out for those with dual mandates, it is worth noting that I have saved the taxpayer over half a million pounds in that time.”