Nigel Dodds

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The Right Honourable
Nigel Dodds
OBE MP
Official portrait of Nigel Dodds crop 2.jpg
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in the House of Commons
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Ian Paisley
Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
Assumed office
31 May 2008
Leader Peter Robinson
Arlene Foster
Preceded by Peter Robinson
Minister of Finance and Personnel
In office
5 June 2008 – 1 July 2009
First Minister Peter Robinson
Preceded by Peter Robinson
Succeeded by Sammy Wilson
Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
In office
8 May 2007 – 5 June 2008
First Minister Ian Paisley
Peter Robinson
Preceded by Reg Empey
Succeeded by Arlene Foster
Minister for Social Development
In office
24 October 2001 – 14 October 2002
First Minister Reg Empey (Acting)
David Trimble
Preceded by Maurice Morrow
Succeeded by Margaret Ritchie
In office
21 November 1999 – 27 July 2000
First Minister David Trimble
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Maurice Morrow
Member of Parliament
for Belfast North
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Cecil Walker
Majority 2,081 (4.5%)
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Belfast North
In office
25 June 1998 – 10 September 2010
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by William Humphrey
Personal details
Born Nigel Alexander Dodds
(1958-08-20) 20 August 1958 (age 59)
Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Democratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s) Diane Dodds
Children 2
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
Queen's University Belfast
Profession Politician
Website Official website

Nigel Alexander Dodds OBE MP (born 20 August 1958) is a Northern Ireland barrister and unionist politician. He is the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Belfast North, and has been deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since June 2008.[1] He has been Lord Mayor of Belfast twice, and from 1993 has been General Secretary of the DUP.[2]

Dodds became North Belfast's MP in the 2001 UK general elections. He has served in the past as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and as Minister of Finance in the Northern Ireland Executive.

Background[edit]

Nigel Dodds was born in Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.[2] He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh,[3] and studied Law at St John's College, Cambridge, from which he graduated with a first-class degree, and where he won the university scholarship, McMahan studentship and Winfield Prize for Law.[3] Upon graduation, he returned to Northern Ireland and, after studying at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's University, Belfast (IPLS), was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland.[4] After working as a barrister, he worked at the Secretariat of the European Parliament from 1984-96.[2]

His father Joe was a long-standing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member of Fermanagh District Council until his death in 2008.[5] He is married to DUP MEP Diane Dodds; they have one son and one daughter, and live in Banbridge, County Down.

Politics[edit]

Dodds entered municipal politics in 1981 when he stood unsuccessfully for the Enniskillen part of Fermanagh District Council.[6] Four years later in 1985, he was elected to Belfast City Council for the religiously and socially mixed Castle electoral area in the north of the city.[7]

He attracted controversy when he and then DUP leader Ian Paisley attended a wake for Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) leader John Bingham.[8]

Dodds soon rose to prominence in the party. He was elected for two one-year terms as Lord Mayor of Belfast in June 1988 (when he became the youngest ever Lord Mayor of Belfast aged 29)[9] and June 1992. The same year, he stood unsuccessfully for the East Antrim constituency in the Westminster election. He was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996 and topped the poll in North Belfast in all three elections to the reconstituted Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998, 2003 and 2007.[10] Dodds was awarded the OBE in 1997 for services to local government.[3]

North Belfast had historically been strong territory for the DUP, with Johnny McQuade representing the constituency in the British House of Commons from 1979 to 1983. The DUP stood down in favour of the Ulster Unionist Party in Westminster elections in the late 1980s and 1990s, in order to avoid splitting the unionist vote. Then, in 2001, Dodds challenged sitting Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP Cecil Walker, despite the danger of losing the mixed constituency to an Irish nationalist. Dodds won just over 40% of the overall vote and with that a 6,387 majority over Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly, with the incumbent Walker being pushed into fourth place.[citation needed][11]

Dodds was Minister of Social Development in the Northern Ireland Executive from 21 November 1999 but resigned on 27 July 2000, then served again from 24 October 2001, when the devolved institutions were restored, until he was dismissed from office on 11 October 2002, shortly before the Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly were collapsed by the UUP.[citation needed]

Dodds is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group.[12] He was appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 9 June 2010, when he entered Westminster after the general election as the new party leader in parliament. He remains in this post after eight years.[13][14]

In a Westminster debate on the issue of governance in association football, Dodds highlighted that footballers born in Northern Ireland often opt to play for the Republic of Ireland national football team instead, saying "action needs to be taken to stop the haemorrhaging of talent from Northern Ireland".[15]

Paramilitary attack[edit]

His constituency office was targeted by the Continuity IRA in 2003 when a viable improvised explosive device was left outside the office. The bomb was defused by British Army explosive experts.[16]

Expenses[edit]

In April 2009, after a leaked report showing MPs' expenses, Dodds had the highest expenses of any MP in Northern Ireland, ranking him 13th highest of all UK MPs.[17][18]

12 July 2013 injury[edit]

At the Twelfth of July 2013 Orange order parades, Dodds was knocked unconscious at Woodvale Avenue in the Greater Shankill area of North Belfast by a brick thrown by fellow Ulster loyalists rioting against Police Service of Northern Ireland roadblocks. The violence broke out following the decision by the Parades Commission to bar Orangemen from walking past the Irish republican Ardoyne area.[19][20] Dodds had been expelled from the House of Commons chamber for using unparliamentary language by Speaker John Bercow on 10 July 2013, after Dodds had refused to withdraw his accusation that the Conservative Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers was being "deliberately deceptive" in answering questions about her powers in respect of what he called the "outrageous" Parades Commission ruling.[21]

2017 onwards[edit]

Dodds claimed that the 2017 general election had "done more to maximise our influence" as it led to the DUP supporting a Conservative minority government. Arlene Foster together with Dodds set up the 'confidence-and-supply deal' with the Conservative Government; but relations with Mrs May have not always been smooth.[22] Dodds opposed any attempts from the Republic of Ireland for 'annexation' of the north, and rejected the Brussels "Backstop option", claiming it was tantamount to a surrender of sovereignty.[23] Neither DUP nor Conservatives want to see a Labour government.

In January 2018, the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal made Dodds even more important to the government in Westminster, because the collapse of the Executive for the first time since 2002, was met with a deal for an extra £1 billion in funding for Northern Ireland.[24] Dodds is most forceful about non-transgression of the so-called 'Red Lines' that include a single electricity market and animal health regulations within the UK. In June 2018 the Deputy Leader of the party mentioned that "anything that would diminish the Union of the United Kingdom would be a clear red line for us."[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Angela Balakrishnan and agencies (14 April 2008). "Dodds will be DUP deputy". London, UK: Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office (20 August 1958). "NI Assembly profile". Niassembly.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Debrett's People of Today
  4. ^ "Stratagem profile". Stratagem-ni.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  5. ^ DUP profile Archived 7 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Fermanagh 1981 election". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Belfast 1985 local election". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  8. ^ Profile, Nuzhound.com; accessed 12 August 2015.
  9. ^ "BBC profile". BBC News. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  10. ^ Northern Irish Assembly election info, ark.ac.uk; accessed 12 August 2015.
  11. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons,. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 Jun 2001 (pt 21)". parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  12. ^ UK Parliament - Register of All Party Groups Archived 19 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Privy Council appointments". Privy Council. 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Pariamentary Information List, number 08324, 31 May 2018. Democratic Unionist Party: Leaders and Officials since 1971, House of Commons Library, 05-06-2018.
  15. ^ Walker, Stephen. "BBC News - Nigel Dodds calls for talks over football eligibility". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Bomb defused at MP's office, bbc.co.uk; accessed 12 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Dodds' expenses bill NI's highest". BBC News. 1 April 2009. 
  18. ^ "Nigel Dodds MP, Belfast North, former MLA, Belfast North". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Quinn, Ben; McDonald, Henry (12 July 2013). "Clashes in Belfast following Twelfth of July parades - as it happened". Retrieved 14 December 2016 – via The Guardian. 
  20. ^ Police and MP Nigel Dodds injured in Belfast riots, bbc.co.uk; accessed 12 August 2015.
  21. ^ Nigel Dodds expelled from Commons chamber, bbc.co.uk; accessed 12 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Nigel Dodds: Future of the government 'isn't entirely in our hands'". The Belfast Telegraph. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-06. 
  23. ^ "Tanaiste rejects Nigel Dodds Northern Irleand annexation claims". The Border Telegraph. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-06. 
  24. ^ "Mr Dodds said that looking back, the hung parliament, which gave his party influence, was no accident". 25 November 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  25. ^ "Theresa May will 'rue the day' she calls DUP's bluff: Nigel Dodds". The Belfast Telegraph. June 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Dixie Gilmore
Lord Mayor of Belfast
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Reg Empey
Preceded by
Fred Cobain
Lord Mayor of Belfast
1991–1992
Succeeded by
Herbert Ditty
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alan Kane
Secretary of the Democratic Unionist Party
1993–2008
Succeeded by
Michelle McIlveen
Preceded by
Peter Robinson
Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
2008–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Ian Paisley
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in the House of Commons
2010–present
Northern Ireland Forum
New forum Member of the Northern Ireland Forum
for North Belfast

1996–1998
Forum dissolved
Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Belfast North

1998–2010
Succeeded by
William Humphrey
Political offices
New office Minister for Social Development
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Maurice Morrow
Preceded by
Maurice Morrow
Minister for Social Development
2001–2002
Vacant
Office suspended
Title next held by
Margaret Ritchie
Vacant
Office suspended
Title last held by
Reg Empey
Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Arlene Foster
Preceded by
Peter Robinson
Minister of Finance and Personnel
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Sammy Wilson
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Cecil Walker
Member of Parliament
for Belfast North

2001–present
Incumbent