|The Right Honourable|
|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
|Preceded by||Peter Robinson|
|Minister of Finance and Personnel|
5 June 2008 – 1 July 2009
|First Minister||Peter Robinson|
|Preceded by||Peter Robinson|
|Succeeded by||Sammy Wilson|
|Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment|
8 May 2007 – 5 June 2008
|Preceded by||Reg Empey|
|Succeeded by||Arlene Foster|
|Minister for Social Development|
24 October 2001 – 14 October 2002
Reg Empey (Acting)|
|Preceded by||Maurice Morrow|
|Succeeded by||Margaret Ritchie|
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|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly|
for Belfast North
25 June 1998 – 10 September 2010
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||William Humphrey|
Nigel Alexander Dodds|
20 August 1958
Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
|Political party||Democratic Unionist Party|
St John's College, Cambridge|
Queen's University Belfast
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. He has been Lord Mayor of Belfast twice, and from 1993 has been General Secretary of the DUP.
Nigel Dodds was born in Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 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. 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. After working as a barrister, he worked at the Secretariat of the European Parliament from 1984-96.
His father Joe was a long-standing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member of Fermanagh District Council until his death in 2008. He is married to DUP MEP Diane Dodds; they have one son and one daughter, and live in Banbridge, County Down.
Dodds entered municipal politics in 1981 when he stood unsuccessfully for the Enniskillen part of Fermanagh District Council. 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.
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) 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. Dodds was awarded the OBE in 1997 for services to local government.
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.
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.
Dodds is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group. 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.
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".
12 July 2013 injury
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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."
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- Walker, Stephen. "BBC News - Nigel Dodds calls for talks over football eligibility". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
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- 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.
- Police and MP Nigel Dodds injured in Belfast riots, bbc.co.uk; accessed 12 August 2015.
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- "Nigel Dodds: Future of the government 'isn't entirely in our hands'". The Belfast Telegraph. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-06.
- "Tanaiste rejects Nigel Dodds Northern Irleand annexation claims". The Border Telegraph. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-06.
- "Mr Dodds said that looking back, the hung parliament, which gave his party influence, was no accident". 25 November 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- "Theresa May will 'rue the day' she calls DUP's bluff: Nigel Dodds". The Belfast Telegraph. June 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- Nigel Dodds OBE MP official constituency website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Appearances on C-SPAN