Diane Dodds

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Diane Dodds
MEP
Diane Dodds MEP, Strasbourg - Diliff.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 June 2009
Preceded by Jim Allister
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast West
In office
26 November 2003 – 7 March 2007
Preceded by Joe Hendron
Succeeded by Jennifer McCann
Personal details
Born (1958-08-16) 16 August 1958 (age 55)
Rathfriland, County Down, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Democratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s) Nigel Dodds
Children 2
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Teacher
Religion Free Presbyterian
Website Official Website

Diane Jean Dodds (born 16 August 1958[1]) is a Democratic Unionist Party politician from Northern Ireland, and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Northern Ireland constituency.

Career[edit]

Dodds was born into a farming family in Rathfriland, County Down where she attended Banbridge Academy before moving on to study at Queen's University Belfast. While studying, she met her future husband and future DUP politician for North Belfast Nigel Dodds.

Dodds qualified as a teacher and taught history and English in Laurelhill High School, Lisburn. In 2003, she was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast West. She was the first Unionist elected to a regional assembly from West Belfast in more than 20 years (the last being Thomas Passmore to the 1982-6 Assembly). Her strongest support base during the election campaign was in the Shankill Road area of the constituency.

Following her election to the Assembly, Dodds contested the Court District Electoral Area in the 2005 Local Government Elections. On that occasion she polled in excess of three electoral quotas and her surplus votes enabled the election of two running mates. In that election, she polled more votes than any other local government candidate in Northern Ireland. Despite increasing her vote from the 2003 Assembly election, she narrowly lost her seat to Sinn Féin in 2007.

Dodds has also been active within Belfast City Council, where she was Chief Whip of the 14-councillor DUP group. She chaired the Policy and Resources Committee on the council and actively supported a campaign to host a homecoming parade for the RIR and other armed forces returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

European Parliament 2009-Present[edit]

On 3 February 2009, Dodds was selected by the DUP as its candidate for the 2009 election to the European Parliament[2] and was elected an MEP on 8 June, representing Northern Ireland.

Despite her election, the results were disappointing for Dodds and her party. The DUP's share of the vote fell 14% to just over 18%. While the Westminster expenses scandal and a perceived poor performance in live debates were cited as reasons for the poor result,[3] Dodds herself blamed the decline in DUP votes on former DUP member Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) splinter party, who gained 66,000 first preference votes. Allister had accused the DUP of "betrayal" in going into government with Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin topped the poll, the first time a republican party had done so in a European election in Northern Ireland. Dodds was elected third, behind Jim Nicholson of the UUP, and with fewer votes than the quota (the elections being held under the single transferable vote system).

In July 2009, on the day when the MEPs were about to take their seats, Diane Dodds refused to take her seat next to the newly elected BNP MEPs, Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Joe Hendron
MLA for Belfast West
2003 - 2007
Succeeded by
Jennifer McCann