Anna Lo

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Anna Lo
Anna Lo MLA, Alliance 2.jpg
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast South
In office
7 March 2007 – 7 May 2016
Preceded by Esmond Birnie
Succeeded by Paula Bradshaw
Personal details
Born (1950-06-17) 17 June 1950 (age 66)
British Hong Kong
Political party Alliance
Spouse(s) Gavin Millar (m. 2010-12, div.)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Ulster
Profession Social worker
Anna Lo
Chinese 盧曼華

Anna Manwah Lo MBE (born 17 June 1950) is an Alliance Party politician in Northern Ireland.[1] Born in Hong Kong, of Cantonese-Chinese ethnicity, Lo was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast South in the 2007 assembly election.[1] She was the first ethnic-minority politician elected at a regional level in Northern Ireland, and the first politician born in East Asia elected to any legislative body in the United Kingdom.[2][notes 1]

Political career[edit]

In 2011, Anna Lo was appointed as the chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly's Environment Committee.[3] She used this role to influence the Local Government Bill. As a result of her amendments, the new Councils will have greater levels of openness and transparency as the audio of the main Council meetings will be recorded and Council papers will be placed online. She has also further improved the freedom of the press at the new Councils by ensuring that journalists and the public will be able to use social media during meetings.[4]

She was selected as the Alliance Party's candidate for the Northern Ireland constituency in the 2014 European Parliament election. She won the best ever European election performance for the party.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Lo is also a social worker and former chairperson of the Northern Ireland Chinese Welfare Association.[6] In 1978, she started the first ever English evening class for Chinese people in Northern Ireland in a further education college. Anna was awarded an MBE in 1999 for Services to Ethnic Minorities.[7] A Taoist by birth, Lo has resided in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, but is now an atheist.[6]

Lo has been the target of racial abuse by Ulster loyalists and says she does not intend to stand for re-election as a result, and considered leaving Northern Ireland altogether due to rising anti-immigrant racism in the country. She also expressed her outrage at First Minister Peter Robinson's defence of Pastor James McConnell in light of Islamophobic remarks.[8]

Political views[edit]

Anna Lo has declared her preference for Irish unification. She describes herself as anti-colonial and has said the partition of Ireland was "artificial".[9] The Alliance Party played down her remarks, with fellow Alliance elected representative Geraldine Rice expressing shock at her stance.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although she had been referred to in some media as "the first Chinese person to be elected as a lawmaker anywhere in Europe", there have been a number of lawmakers who were elected into European parliaments before her:
    Of Chinese ancestry:
    • Andre Thien Ah Koon, first and only Chinese elected to the French National Assembly and the first Chinese elected to a parliament in Europe, 1986-2006
    • Khee Liang Phoa, Dutch State Secretary for Emancipation and Family Affairs in 2002–2003


External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Esmond Birnie
MLA for Belfast South
Succeeded by
Paula Bradshaw