John Alderdice, Baron Alderdice
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Alderdice
|President of Liberal International|
|Preceded by||Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck|
|Succeeded by||Hans van Baalen|
|1st Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly|
1 July 1998 – 29 February 2004
|Deputy||Sir John Gorman
|Preceded by||New position|
|Succeeded by||Eileen Bell|
|Leader of the Alliance Party|
|Preceded by||John Cushnahan|
|Succeeded by||Séan Neeson|
|Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast East
25 June 1998 – 26 November 2003
|Preceded by||New Creation|
|Succeeded by||Naomi Long|
8 October 1996
28 March 1955 |
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Alma mater||Queen's University Belfast|
John Thomas Alderdice, Baron Alderdice (born 28 March 1955) is a Northern Ireland politician. He was Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly 1998–2004, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 1987–1998, and since 1996 has sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat.
Alderdice was born to the Rev. David Alderdice and Annie Margaret Helena Shields. He was educated at Ballymena Academy and the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB) where he studied medicine and qualified in 1978. In 1977, he married Joan Hill, with whom he has two sons and one daughter. He worked part-time as a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in the NHS from 1988 until he retired from psychiatric practice in 2010. He also lectured at Queen's University's Faculty of Medicine between 1991 and 1999.
Political career in Northern Ireland
The Alliance Party was formed in 1970 as an alternative to sectarian politics. Alderdice was on the Executive Committee of the party between 1984 and 1998, Chair of the Policy Committee between 1985 and 1987, the party Vice-chair in 1987, before becoming the party leader ahead of the 1987 general election, and contested Belfast East for the party in 1987 and 1992. He received 32.1% of the vote in 1987, the highest percentage achieved by Alliance in an individual seat in a Westminster election until Naomi Long's historic victory for the party in Belfast East in the 2010 general election. In 1988, in Alliance's keynote post-Anglo Irish Agreement document, "Governing with Consent", Alderdice called for a devolved power-sharing government based on a voluntary coalition elected by a qualified majority vote. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Alliance's vote across Northern Ireland stabilised at between 6% and 8%.
Alderdice once again contested Belfast East in the 1992 general election. He led the Alliance Delegation to the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation at Dublin Castle and the Northern Ireland Multiparty Talks, and was a member of the Northern Ireland Forum.
He was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast East in 1998 and became the Assembly's first speaker, serving until 2004. Mo Mowlam said that Alderdice's "political and parliamentary experience mean that he is well suited to carry out this role". Alderdice was a Belfast City Councillor from 1989 until 1997. He resigned as party leader in 1998 to take the position of Speaker. He was a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission from 2004 to 2011.
Elevation to peerage
Alderdice was created a life peer on 8 October 1996 as Baron Alderdice, of Knock in the City of Belfast, and was one of the youngest ever life peers. He sits in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. On 10 June 2010, he was elected to the new position of Convenor of the Liberal Democrat Peers, a role in which he chairs the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords.
Awards and honours
Alderdice has been awarded several honours: the John F Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in 1998; the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award in 1998; the Silver Medal of Congress of Peru in 1999 and 2004; the Medal of Honour, College of Medicine of Peru in 1999; and the Freedom of the City of Baltimore in 1991. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
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- "Irish Lord's connection with the Yandruwandha people.". CAAMA News. Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Alliance and the Peace Process (The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland)". Allianceparty.org. 21 April 1970. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- glen baker (6 April 2010). "Belfast East election results 1885–2005 – Politics, News". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Naomi Long beats Peter Robinson to win in East Belfast". InsideIreland.ie. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Focus | Profile – John Alderdice". BBC News. 20 May 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Latest News | Alderdice to be Assembly's first Speaker". BBC News. 29 June 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Independent Monitoring Coimmission". Independentmonitoringcommission.org. 7 January 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- The London Gazette: . 15 October 1996.
- "Bureau – People – Members – Liberalism". Liberal-international.org. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "EUROPEAN UNION – Delegation of the European Union to the USA – October 15, 2008". Eurunion.org. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- UK. "Honorary Graduates | News & Events | Robert Gordon University (RGU) Aberdeen Scotland". RGU. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- Lord Alderdice profile at the site of Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biographies of Prominent People at the CAIN Web Service
- Psychiatrist Helps Heal Centuries-Old Wounds Psychiatric News 19 March 2004, Volume 39, Number 6, Page 20 American Psychiatric Association
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|MLA for Belfast East
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Alliance Party (NI)
|President of the Liberal International
Hans van Baalen
|Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly