VOTING has opened across Derry as one of the most hotly contested seats will be fought out between the SDLP and Sinn Fein.
In May 2017, the SDLP’s Mark Durkan lost the seat by just 169 votes to Sinn Fein’s former Mayor of Derry and Strabane Council Elisha McCallion.
But this time around the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has come out as the bookies favourite to wrestle the seat back from Sinn Fein.
On eve of the polls opening, Mr Eastwood urged the Derry public to use today’s election as an opportunity to vote to stop Brexit.
The Foyle Westminster candidate said the first-past-the-post election was an opportunity for people to send MPs to Westminster who will vote against Brexit and send a message to the DUP and Sinn Féin that it’s time to get back to work.
Said Mr Eastwood: “This is a once in a generation election. After three years of being misrepresented or unrepresented, people here have the power and the opportunity to send MPs to Westminster who will vote against Brexit and vote against Boris Johnson.
“They also have the opportunity to send a message to the DUP and Sinn Féin that it’s time to get back to work to deliver pay parity for healthcare workers, to ensure our schools have the resource they need and to properly invest in jobs and infrastructure across the North.
“SDLP MPs will join a progressive coalition of parties from across the political spectrum to remove Boris Johnson from office and bring an end to the chaos that has threatened communities and businesses here for too long.
“We’ll vote against attempts to privatise our health service and open it up to US pharmaceutical companies intent on hiking up drug prices and squeezing the vulnerable.
“The polls are narrowing. We’re now strongly in the territory of a hung parliament where every vote will count in the fight to stop Brexit.
“On Thursday, if you turn up for us, SDLP MPs will turn up for you.”
Polls will close tonight at 10 pm and votes will be counted overnight.
It is expected that the identity of the MP for Foyle will be known by early on Friday morning, December 13.