Mike Nesbitt

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For the American football coach and former player, see Mike Nesbitt (American football).
Mike Nesbitt
MLA
Mike nesbitt.JPG
Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 March 2012
Preceded by Tom Elliott
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Strangford
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Preceded by Simpson Gibson
Personal details
Born (1957-05-11) 11 May 1957 (age 57)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Spouse(s) Lynda Bryans (m.1992)
Children 4
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Queen's University, Belfast
Occupation Politician
Profession Journalist
Religion Presbyterian
Website Mike Nesbitt MLA

Michael Nesbitt (born 11 May 1957) is a British politician who has been the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party since 2012 and the Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Strangford since 2011. He was previously a television broadcaster.[1]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Nesbitt worked as a sports reporter at BBC Northern Ireland and progressed to presenting Good Morning Ulster on BBC Radio Ulster from 1986 to 1990.[2] Nesbitt joined UTV as a presenter and reporter in 1992, being joined by his wife Lynda Bryans to co-present evening news programme UTV Live in 1996.[3]

Nesbitt and Bryans also co-presented weekly religious series Sunday Morning for Anglia Television from 1999 to 2001,[4] and two series of home and garden series Home Sweet Home for UTV.[5]

Nesbitt also hosted Counterpoint[6] and made a guest appearance in comedy programme Everything You Know Is Wrong in 1998.[6]

In 2006, Nesbitt announced he was not renewing his presenting contract with UTV.[2] His final edition of UTV Live was broadcast on 10 February 2006.[7]

Political career[edit]

In January 2008, Nesbitt was announced as a Commissioner of Victims and Survivors,[8] a Northern Ireland Assembly role designed to promote the interests of victims of the Troubles.

Nesbitt resigned from the post on 17 February 2010 to become the parliamentary candidate for the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force in the constituency of Strangford.[9] He lost out to the Democratic Unionist Party's Jim Shannon in the election.[10]

In the 2011 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Nesbitt was elected in Strangford.

UUP party leader[edit]

Mike Nesbitt was elected as UUP party leader on 31 March 2012. He defeated South Down assembly member John McCallister with a final vote tally of 536 votes to 129. Nesbitt said he wanted the UUP to become "the party of choice for every pro-union voter in Northern Ireland".[11]

In April 2012, Nesbitt announced that he wanted to make history by being the first leader of his party to attend a Sinn Fein ard fheis. He said: "We should be going to all the conferences of the main parties, not just the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats."[12]

Shortly after his election, Nesbitt received attention when he criticised the Alliance Party, a rival party of the UUP. He called them "unprincipled and driven by self-interest" and said they presided over "a catalogue of disasters". He challenged their commitment to its core policy of a shared future, saying "I can only imagine the disappointment of Alliance voters hoping for a principled stance on a shared future." An Alliance spokesman retorted, saying "In last year's election the public showed growing support for the Alliance Party. These criticisms come from a newly elected leader with little experience who leads a party that is in decline at a time when Alliance is in the ascendant. We will not, therefore, be responding to these silly remarks."[13]

Personal life[edit]

Nesbitt was born in Belfast.[14] He attended Campbell College, Belfast[15] and studied at Cambridge.[2]

Since giving up broadcasting, Nesbitt and his wife set up their own independent media services company. Nesbitt worked for a public relations company between his careers at BBC Northern Ireland and UTV.[2] In April 2010, Nesbitt revealed that he had 2 daughters from a previous marriage with whom he has had no contact since his divorce from their mother.[16]

Nesbitt has four children.[1]

Nesbitt is the first leader of the UUP not to be a member of the Orange Order.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'I could see myself getting old with Mike'" Belfast Telegraph, 29 February 2004; accessed 6 February 2009
  2. ^ a b c d "Nesbitt quits UTV over contracts row" Belfast Telegraph, 2 February 2006, accessed 5 April 2009
  3. ^ Lynda Bryans' profile on u.tv WebArchive.org, 11 July 2002, accessed 5 April 2009
  4. ^ Michael Nesbitt's filmography BFI Film and TV Database: accessed 5 April 2009
  5. ^ "Home Sweet Home" BFI Film and TV Database: accessed 5 April 20/9
  6. ^ a b Mike Nesbitt's filmography BFI Film and TV Database: accessed 5 April 2009
  7. ^ UTV Live Special – Mike Nesbitt's last day UTV Today; accessed 5 April 2009
  8. ^ "Victims' posts details revealed" BBC News, 28 January 2008
  9. ^ "Nesbitt is UUP election candidate" BBC News, 17 February 2010, accessed 17 February 2010
  10. ^ Strangford: Jim Shannon keeps Iris seat for the DUP BBC News, 7 May 2010
  11. ^ "Mike Nesbitt is new Ulster Unionist leader". BBC. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  12. ^ McAdam, Noel (5 April 2012). "Ulster Unionist chief Mike Nesbitt: I'll go to Sinn Féin ard fheis and sell Union to republicans". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Unprincipled, self-interested... Mike Nesbitt lays into Alliance Party". Belfast Telegraph. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Mike Nesbitt's profile on u.tv WebArchive.org: captured 11 July 2002; accessed 5 April 2009
  15. ^ "My hopes for 2006" Belfast Telegraph, 28 December 2005, accessed 5 April 2009
  16. ^ Nesbitt: My secret family Sunday Life, 25 April 2010
  17. ^ "Kennedy still minister after Nesbitt shake up" The Newsletter 4 April 2012

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Simpson Gibson
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Strangford
2011–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tom Elliott
Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
2012–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent