Jo-Anne Dobson

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Jo-Anne Dobson
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Upper Bann
Assumed office
12 May 2011
Preceded by George Savage
Personal details
Born Jo-Anne Elizabeth Elliott
(1966-01-03) 3 January 1966 (age 51)
Banbridge, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Spouse(s) John Dobson
Children Mark
Residence Waringstown
Religion Anglican

Jo-Anne Elizabeth Dobson (née Elliott; born 3 January 1966) is an Ulster Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland who was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011. She lost her seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections 2017.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Dobson began her education at Abercorn Primary School and continued her studies at Banbridge Academy. As a strong advocate for the Upper Bann consistency she is heavily involved in charitable roles and in local environmental and farming scenes.[2]

Political career[edit]

Dobson was elected to Craigavon Borough Council in a by-election in 2010 - winning 64% of the vote.[3] Upon her election to Stormont she stepped down from Council in 2012, being replaced by Colin McCusker, General Secretary of the Ulster Unionist Party.

On 14 October 2014, Dobson was selected by the Upper Bann Ulster Unionist Association to be the party's candidate for the Upper Bann constituency in the 2015 general election. She won 13,166 votes, thus increasing the Ulster Unionist Party's percentage vote by 1.2% on the previous general election and coming second in this closely fought campaign.[citation needed]

Policy positions[edit]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

In 2012, Dobson responded to a Christian organisation that claimed to be able to cure gay people and said she "would pray that marriage would not be redefined".[4] In 2015, Dobson voted against a motion to legalise same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.[5]

Equality legislation[edit]

In March 2015, Dobson voted in support of a controversial motion to amend the equality bill.[5] This motion was in response to the Northern Ireland "gay cake" row [6] in which Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake for a customer who supported same-sex marriage. The "conscience clause" as it is known has generated criticism within the media and from the equality commission.[7]

Organ donation[edit]

In December 2012 Dobson tabled a Private Member's Bill at the Northern Ireland Assembly to change the existing organ donation laws in Northern Ireland.[citation needed] In February 2013 she was elected as chairperson of the newly created Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on Organ Donation [8] During the International TED conference, held at the Northern Ireland Assembly,[9] she dedicated her speech to the memory of Josie Kerr, who, alongside her husband Walter, founded the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund, describing her as "an ordinary lady, who led an extraordinary life".[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Dobson is the eldest child of Joanie and Eric Elliott. She has a younger sister, Belinda. She married John Dobson, a farmer, when she was 20. The couple has two sons, Mark and Elliott.[citation needed]


  1. ^ 201l election profile,; accessed 14 May 2016.
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed 24 May 2016.
  3. ^ "UUP takes Craigavon council seat from TUV". BBC News. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  4. ^ Jo-Anne Dobson on same sex marriage,, accessed 14 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Northern Ireland Assembly Profile,; accessed 14 May 2016.
  6. ^ "'Gay cake' row: MLA in equality law 'conscience clause'". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  7. ^ "Conscience Bill 'will cause bias'". 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  8. ^ "All Party Group on Organ Donation". Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  9. ^ "EU Debate NI – Just another WordPress site". 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
George Savage
MLA for Upper Bann
2011 - 2017
Succeeded by
Seat abolished