Gregory Campbell (politician)


Gregory Lloyd Campbell (born 15 February 1953)[2] is a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician in Northern Ireland, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Londonderry since 2001.

Gregory Campbell

Democratic Unionist Party Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office and
International Development
Assumed office
8 May 2015
LeaderNigel Dodds
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure
In office
9 June 2008  1 July 2009
Preceded byEdwin Poots
Succeeded byNelson McCausland
Member of Parliament
for East Londonderry
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byWilliam Ross
Majority9,607 (24.4%)
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for East Londonderry
In office
25 June 1998  7 May 2016
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byMaurice Bradley
Personal details
Born
Gregory Lloyd Campbell

(1953-02-15) 15 February 1953 (age 68)
Derry, Northern Ireland
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Frances Campbell[1]
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Ulster

He was previously a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLA) for East Londonderry, from 1998 to 2016. Campbell was the front runner up candidate along side Paula Bradley MLA for the position as party deputy leader following the resignation of the Lord Dodds On the 15th May 2021 but was defeated by his opponent Paula Bradley MLA by a majority of 2 votes.

Early life


Campbell was born and raised in the Waterside area of Derry as an only child. He was educated at the city's technical college and at the University of Ulster.[citation needed]

Political career


He joined the DUP in the 1970s and was first elected to Londonderry City Council in 1981. Campbell briefly led the local DUP members out of the council in 1984 when it changed its name to Derry City Council, although he returned to his seat not long after. He stood down in 2011 after 30 years as a councillor.

He was chosen to contest the Foyle constituency in the general election of 1983. He contested the same seat again in the general elections of 1987 and 1992, although each time he finished second behind Social Democratic and Labour Party leader John Hume.

He appeared in the BBC Real Lives documentary At the Edge of the Union, which was temporarily blocked in August 1985 by direct government intervention from the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan. This led to a one-day strike by the National Union of Journalists to defend the independence of the BBC.

That same year, in an extensive interview with Magill magazine, Campbell outlined his opposition to homosexuality, telling journalist Fintan O'Toole: "It's an evil, wicked, abhorrent practice. My opposition to that is based on the Bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition. You're not even talking about something which is a run of the mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved, and to me anyway the AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God."[3]

Given that Foyle had a predominantly nationalist population, the increasingly high-profile Campbell was transferred to the more winnable East Londonderry seat, where he ran unsuccessfully in 1997. Campbell won the seat at his second attempt in the 2001 general election, gaining a majority of 1,901 over sitting MP William Ross of the Ulster Unionist Party. He was re-elected in the 2005 general election, this time securing an increased majority of 7,498 over the new UUP candidate David McClarty. Until 2016, he was also a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, topping the East Londonderry poll (from which six members are elected) in the elections of 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Government and subsequent activity

Campbell was appointed Minister of Regional Development in the Northern Ireland Executive in July 2000. On 9 June 2008, Campbell took over the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, replacing Edwin Poots, following a reshuffle of the DUP's ministerial team by newly appointed First Minister Peter Robinson. He was replaced in this role by party colleague Nelson McCausland following another reshuffle on 22 June 2009 and the announcement by Peter Robinson that DUP politicians would no longer hold office in the Assembly and serve as MPs at Westminster simultaneously.[citation needed]

In October 2008, Campbell spoke out against the American cartoon The Simpsons, after a St Patrick's day episode showed a fight between nationalists and unionists. The episode also featured references to the IRA. Campbell said, "The Simpsons is a humorous cartoon but the context of using a line like that about an organisation which caused so much death will lead people to have very mixed views."[4]

In December 2008, Campbell criticised the singer Dido for her song "Let's Do the Things We Normally Do", which referenced lyrics from a song, "The Men Behind the Wire". The original song had been written in response to internment in Northern Ireland and Campbell suggested that Dido "should clarify her position so that her fans and the wider public knows where she stands on these things".[5]

In 2009, Campbell declared his support for capital punishment in "some cases" during a Westminster Parliament debate.[6]

In 2011 a man was convicted and was given a suspended jail sentence and fined after posting a menacing message on Facebook about Campbell.[7] In February 2012, Campbell voiced opposition to the redrawing of the electoral borders in Northern Ireland, stating that they "will have a detrimental effect on the north west."[8] Campbell supports a number of evangelical Protestant groups including a creationist lobby group, the Caleb Foundation.[9]

He has been critical of some Twitter comments by Derry-born footballer James McClean and condemned McClean's decision not to wear a poppy on his shirt in the buildup to Remembrance Sunday in 2012. McClean, who played for Sunderland at the time, had stated on Twitter that his favourite song was "The Broad Black Brimmer" by the republican folk group The Wolfe Tones.[10] Campbell commented, "I've been watching him closely and knew he would slip up sooner or later." Subsequently, McClean was banned from using Twitter from his club. Campbell was offered an invitation to a Wolfe Tones concert, which he declined.[11]

In March 2013, Campbell made a successful parliamentary motion to stop a one-off concept car made by the motor company Kia from ever going into production. The show car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and was named "Provo" after the Italian word Prova, meaning trial or test. He put forward a motion at the House of Commons to stop any possible development of the car, due to the connotations the name might have in Ireland ("Provos" is a common shortened form of Provisional IRA), although the car was never intended to go into production. A spokesperson for Kia said in a statement it would be certain not to market any future car as a "Provo" in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland,[12] adding: "This car is a showcase, it's a little bit of frivolity, it's for a motor show in Switzerland designed by an Italian at a design studio in Frankfurt."[13]

In November 2014, Campbell became embroiled in a controversy after parodying the Irish language while addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly. Mocking the nationalist MLAs' tradition of beginning addressing the Assembly with the Irish words "go raibh maith agat, Ceann Comhairle" ("thank you, Speaker"), he opened a question about minority language policy saying "curry my yoghurt, can coca coalyer", an anglicised corruption of the Irish. Campbell was unwilling to apologise, and was temporarily censured.[14] He said at the DUP's annual conference later that month: "On behalf of our party let me say clearly, and slowly so that Caitríona Ruane and Gerry Adams understand, we will never agree to an Irish Language Act at Stormont and we will treat their entire wish list as no more than toilet paper."[15]

In March 2019, Campbell was one of 21 MPs who voted against LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education in English schools.[16][17]

In February 2021, Campbell was urged by anti-racism organisations to apologise after describing, on Facebook, an edition of Songs of Praise that featured only black people as the "BBC at its BLM worst." Campbell wrote: "There were five singers, all of them black. There were three judges all of them black and one presenter who was incidentally, yes black. The singers were all very good but can you imagine an all white line up with an all white jury and presented by a white person? No I can't either."[18][19]

References


  1. "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". Publications.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. "Is Gregory Campbell a potential future leader of DUP? - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  3. O'Toole, Fintan. "Fire and Brimstone". Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  4. "Campbell not impressed with Simpsons humour". Londonderrysentinel.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  5. Michaels, Sean (9 December 2008). "Dido criticised for 'IRA song' on new album". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  6. House of Commons Hansard, Volume: 486, Part: 16 Archived 26 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, publications.parliament.uk; accessed 5 June 2016.
  7. "Man fined for Gregory Campbell Facebook comment". BBC News. 29 July 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  8. Deeney, Donna. "MP Gregory Campbell slams electoral plans". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  9. Liam Clarke, "Creationist Bible group and its web of influence at Stormont", Belfast Telegraph, 1 September 2012.
  10. "James McClean responds to anger over IRA song" Archived 1 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine, newsletter.co.uk; accessed 6 May 2016.
  11. "Wolfe Tones invite James McClean row DUP man Gregory Campbell for concert" Archived 18 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Belfast Telegraph; accessed 8 May 2016.
  12. [dead link] [dead link]
  13. "Kia 'won't sell Provo car in UK'". BBC News. 5 March 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  14. "'Curry my yoghurt': Gregory Campbell, DUP, barred from speaking for day". BBC News. Bbc.co.uk. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  15. Gerry Moriarty (23 November 2014). "Sinn Féin will never get Irish language act, DUP members told". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  16. Butterworth, Benjamin (28 March 2019). "MPs vote for LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education from primary school". inews.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  17. "Draft Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 - CommonsVotes". commonsvotes.digiminster.com. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  18. "Gregory Campbell: DUP MP's BLM remarks over Songs of Praise 'irresponsible'". 8 February 2021. Archived from the original on 7 February 2021.
  19. "DUP MP under pressure to apologise for Songs of Praise BLM remarks". The Guardian. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.