She was first elected as an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member of Belfast City Council in a by-election in 1975 for 'Area B' (the forerunner to the 'Victoria' electoral area). She was re-elected in 1977 and served as Deputy Lord Mayor in 1978–79. She lost her council seat to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in 1981.
In 1982 she was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, one of only three women to win a seat. In 1985 she regained her seat on Belfast City Council, representing the 'Pottinger' area and became chairwoman of East Belfast Unionist Association. On the moderate wing of the UUP, she was critical of the party's electoral pact with the DUP and with Unionist demonstrations at Belfast's Saint Anne's Cathedral against the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
She left the UUP, but retained a sufficient personal vote to hold her council seat in 1989 as an independent Unionist and to retain her deposit with over 2000 votes in East Belfast in the 1992 Westminster election. Shortly afterwards, she joined the Conservative Party, becoming Area Chairwoman 1995–97.
Her political career came to an end when she lost her council seat in the 1993 Local Government elections, her last electoral contest being the 1996 Forum election where she failed to win a seat in Belfast East.
She has four children and seven grandchildren.
- Conservative Women's Organisation bio
- Local Government Elections 1973 – 1981: Belfast
- Biodata (cache version)
- Biodata, ibid.
- Local Government Elections 1985–1989: Belfast
- East Belfast, 1983–1992
- 1996 Candidates – East Belfast
Title last held byGrace Bannister
|Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast
Title next held byFrank Millar
|Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)|
|New assembly||MPA for East Belfast