Jim Shannon

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Jim Shannon
Official portrait of Jim Shannon MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Democratic Unionist Party Spokesperson for Health and Social Care[1]
Assumed office
8 May 2015
LeaderNigel Dodds
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Democratic Unionist Party Spokesperson for Human Rights[1]
Assumed office
1 July 2017
LeaderNigel Dodds
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Member of Parliament
for Strangford
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byIris Robinson
Majority7,071 (18.9%)
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Strangford
In office
25 June 1998 – August 2010
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded bySimpson Gibson
Personal details
Born (1955-03-25) 25 March 1955 (age 66)
Banbridge, Northern Ireland
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Sandra Shannon
ResidenceGreyabbey, Northern Ireland
WebsiteJim Shannon MP

Richard James Shannon (born 25 March 1955) is a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician in Northern Ireland. He has sat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom since 2010 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Strangford. He had previously sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998 to 2010 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland (MLA) for Strangford. He is an advocate for Leave Means Leave, a pro-Brexit campaign.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Shannon was educated at Ballywalter Primary School and Coleraine Academical Institution. He was a soldier in the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1973–1975 and 1976–1977 and was awarded the General Service Medal. He served in the Royal Artillery TA from 1977 to 1988. He is a member of the Orange Order and Apprentice Boys of Derry.[3] He has been voted "least sexy MP" in a list of all Westminster MPs but laughed off his position at the bottom of the poll.[4]

Political career[edit]

Shannon was a longstanding councillor, first elected to Ards Borough Council in 1985 and serving as Mayor in 1991–1992. He was elected as a member of the Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialogue in 1996. Shannon was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly for Strangford in 1998 and then re-elected in 2003 and 2007, representing the DUP.

At the 2010 general election Shannon won in his own constituency of Strangford with 14,926 votes compared to the runners-up, the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists (9,050 votes).[5] The seat had been vacant since the resignation of fellow DUP MP Iris Robinson on 13 January 2010. Following his election to Westminster, he resigned his Assembly seat in favour of Simpson Gibson.[6] He also resigned his council in favour of Joe Hagan, who was subsequently deselected.

In 2016, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority announced it was launching a formal investigation into Shannon's expenses. In 2015, he was the highest-claiming MP out of 650, claiming £205,798, not including travel.[7] In 2016 the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority found breaches of the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses by his constituency workers for claiming mileage and said £13,925 must be repaid by the MP.[8][9]

In March 2019, Shannon was one of 21 MPs who voted against LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education in English schools.[10][11]

Shannon is one of the most active contributors to Parliamentary debates, intervening in almost every adjournment debate, which he says he does to support fellow backbench MPs who wish to raise issues in typically poorly attended debates.[12]

Speaking in a House of Commons adjournment debate on Netflix, Shannon referred to claims by Margaret Hodge of alleged tax avoidance by the company as "simply disgraceful"[13] and called for Government to "ensure that big business has to pay a reasonable rate of tax."[14]


  1. ^ a b "UK Parliament". Jim Shannon MP profile. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ Jim Shannon MP MLA DUP
  4. ^ Spackman, Conor (31 May 2011). "Jim Shannon laughs off least sexy MP rating". BBC News.
  5. ^ Strangford: Jim Shannon keeps Iris seat for the DUP BBC News, 7 May 2010
  6. ^ Northern Ireland Assembly Archived 2007-11-17 at the Wayback Machine, note 14
  7. ^ McDonald, Henry (1 November 2016). "Expense claims of DUP MP Jim Shannon to be investigated". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  8. ^ Bell, Jonny (26 May 2016). "DUP Strangford MP Jim Shannon to repay £14k Westminster expenses". Belfast Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Expenses of DUP MP Shannon by far highest in House of Commons". The Irish Times. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  10. ^ Butterworth, Benjamin (28 March 2019). "MPs vote for LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education from primary school". i News.
  11. ^ "Draft Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 - CommonsVotes".
  12. ^ "Commons' most prolific contributing MP says he just wants to support colleagues". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  13. ^ Goldbart, Max. "Netflix blasted by MPs over UK tax affairs". Screen International.
  14. ^ "Netflix: Tax Affairs - Monday 3 February 2020 - Hansard - UK Parliament". hansard.parliament.uk.

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Forum
New forum Member for Strangford
Forum dissolved
Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly MLA for Strangford
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
MP for Strangford