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UUP contender delivers his baby boy

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John McCallister delivered his baby boy on the bathroom floor

John McCallister delivered his baby boy on the bathroom floor

John McCallister delivered his baby boy on the bathroom floor

An Ulster Unionist Party leadership contender has delivered his baby boy.

John McCallister, 40, a former dairy farmer, rushed to his wife Jane's aid when she started having serious contractions.

But before an ambulance crew arrived to take her to hospital, Mr McCallister was forced into action himself.

Cradling a cordless phone, he was talked through the procedure by medical staff and within half an hour Harry James, weighing 7lbs 10oz, was born on the floor of the couple's bathroom in Rathfriland, Co Down.

Mr McCallister said: "He was definitely coming today, there was no stopping him."

The South Down member of the Northern Ireland assembly is one of two candidates campaigning to take over the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Delegates are due to meet in Belfast on Saturday to vote for the new leader. Former television presenter Mike Nesbitt is the other candidate.

Mr McCallister said Jane, a 34-year-old schoolteacher, and their baby are now doing well at Craigavon hospital after this morning's drama began at 7am. He joked that his only experience of births was with animals but said he was also present when Molly, his 18-month-old, arrived.

Molly was still in bed when Thursday's drama started but her grandmother was called to collect her. Mr McCallister left the front door open for the ambulance crew as he helped his partner but the delivery was over within half an hour and he cradled the infant in his arms.

"It was certainly a different start to the day from what I was expecting," he said.

He added that if he failed in his leadership bid, he could seek a career as a midwife.

PA Media