John Alderdice, Baron Alderdice

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Alderdice
Lord Alderdice.jpg
President of Liberal International
In office
2005–2009
Preceded by Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck
Succeeded by Hans van Baalen
1st Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly
In office
1 July 1998 – 29 February 2004
Deputy Sir John Gorman
(2000–2002)
Donovan McClelland
(2000–2007)
Jane Morrice
(2000–2007)
Jim Wilson
(2002–2007)
Preceded by New position
Succeeded by Eileen Bell
Leader of the Alliance Party
In office
1987–1998
Preceded by John Cushnahan
Succeeded by Séan Neeson
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast East
In office
25 June 1998 – 26 November 2003
Preceded by New Creation
Succeeded by Naomi Long
Personal details
Born (1955-03-28) 28 March 1955 (age 59)
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Political party Liberal Democrats
Other political
affiliations
Alliance
Spouse(s) Joan Hill
Children 3
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Religion Presbyterian

John Thomas Alderdice, Baron Alderdice (born 28 March 1955[1]) is a Northern Ireland politician. He was Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly 1998–2004, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 1987–1998, and since 1996 has sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Alderdice was born to the Rev. David Alderdice and Annie Margaret Helena Shields. He was educated at Ballymena Academy and the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB). In 1977, he married Joan Hill, with whom he has two sons and one daughter.[2] He worked part-time as a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in the NHS from 1988 until he retired from psychiatric practice in 2010.[3][4] He also lectured at Queen's University's Faculty of Medicine between 1991 and 1999.[3]

Alderdice claims a distant relationship to John King, a nineteenth century Australian explorer and the sole survivor of the Burke and Wills expedition.[5]

Political career in Northern Ireland[edit]

The Alliance Party was formed in 1970 as an alternative to sectarian politics.[6] Alderdice was on the Executive Committee of the party between 1984 and 1998, the Chair Policy Committee between 1985 and 1987, the party Vice-chair in 1987 before becoming the party leader ahead of the 1987 general election and contested Belfast East for the party.[1] He received 32.1% of the vote,[7] the highest percentage achieved by Alliance in an individual seat in a Westminster election until Naomi Long's historic victory for the party in Belfast East in the 2010 general election.[8] In 1988, in Alliance's keynote post-Anglo Irish Agreement document, "Governing with Consent", Alderdice called for a devolved power-sharing government based on a voluntary coalition elected by a qualified majority vote. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Alliance's vote stabilised at between 6% and 8%.[6]

Alderdice once again contested Belfast East in the 1992 general election.[7] He led the Alliance Delegation to the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation at Dublin Castle and the Northern Ireland Multiparty Talks, and was a member of the Northern Ireland Forum.[3]

Alderdice was willing to talk with Sinn Féin, after the IRA called a ceasefire in 1994, when others in the unionist community regarded such discussions as unacceptable.[9]

He was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast East in 1998 and became the Assembly's first speaker, serving until 2004. Mo Mowlam said that Alderdice's "political and parliamentary experience mean that he is well suited to carry out this role".[10] Alderdice was a Belfast City Councillor from 1989 until 1997.[4] He resigned as party leader to take the position of Speaker.[3] He has been a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission since 2004.[11]

Elevation to peerage[edit]

Alderdice was created a life peer in 1996 as Baron Alderdice, of Knock in the City of Belfast,[2] he was one of the youngest ever life peers.[3] He sits in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. On 10 June 2010, he was elected to the new position of Convenor of the Liberal Democrat Peers, a role in which he chairs the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords.[4]

He was elected President of Liberal International in 2005 and served until Liberal International's Cairo congress in 2009. He was succeeded by Dutch politician Hans van Baalen.[12]

Awards and honours[edit]

Alderdice has been awarded several honours: the John F Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in 1998; the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award in 1998; the Silver Medal of Congress of Peru in 1999 and 2004; the Medal of Honour, College of Medicine of Peru in 1999; and the Freedom of the City of Baltimore in 1991.[13] He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.[11]

In 2001 he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists[3] and has also been awarded an honorary doctorate in law from Robert Gordon University.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c United Kingdom. "Democracy Live | Your representatives | John Alderdice". BBC News. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Alderdice, Baron (UK, 1996)". Cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Election and introduction of Honorary Fellows – 25 (12): 491 – The Psychiatrist". Pb.rcpsych.org. doi:10.1192/pb.25.12.491. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "Lord Alderdice". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Irish Lord's connection with the Yandruwandha people.". CAAMA News. Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Alliance and the Peace Process (The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland)". Allianceparty.org. 21 April 1970. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  7. ^ a b glen baker (6 April 2010). "Belfast East election results 1885–2005 – Politics, News". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Naomi Long beats Peter Robinson to win in East Belfast". InsideIreland.ie. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Focus | Profile – John Alderdice". BBC News. 20 May 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Latest News | Alderdice to be Assembly's first Speaker". BBC News. 29 June 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Independent Monitoring Coimmission". Independentmonitoringcommission.org. 7 January 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Bureau – People – Members – Liberalism". Liberal-international.org. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "EUROPEAN UNION – Delegation of the European Union to the USA – October 15, 2008". Eurunion.org. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  14. ^ UK. "Honorary Graduates | News & Events | Robert Gordon University (RGU) Aberdeen Scotland". RGU. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for Belfast East
1998–2003
Succeeded by
Naomi Long
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Cushnahan
Leader of the Alliance Party (NI)
1987–1998
Succeeded by
Sean Neeson
Preceded by
Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck
President of the Liberal International
2005–2009
Succeeded by
Hans van Baalen
Political offices
Preceded by
New position
Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly
1998–2004
Succeeded by
Eileen Bell