Diane Dodds


Diane Jean Dodds, Lady Dodds of Duncairn, MLA (born 16 August 1958),[1] is a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician in Northern Ireland. She served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Northern Ireland constituency from 2009 to 2020. She previously sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2003 to 2007 as MLA for West Belfast. In 2020, Dodds returned to the Assembly as MLA for Upper Bann.[2]


The Lady Dodds of Duncairn

Minister for the Economy
In office
11 January 2020  14 June 2021
First MinisterArlene Foster
Preceded bySimon Hamilton
Succeeded byPaul Frew
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
In office
4 June 2009  31 January 2020
Preceded byJim Allister
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Upper Bann
Assumed office
11 January 2020
Preceded byCarla Lockhart
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Belfast West
In office
26 November 2003  7 March 2007
Preceded byJoe Hendron
Succeeded byJennifer McCann
Personal details
Born (1958-08-16) 16 August 1958 (age 62)
Rathfriland, Northern Ireland
NationalityBritish
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Nigel, Lord Dodds of Duncairn
Children3
Alma materQueen's University Belfast
ProfessionTeacher
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life


Dodds was born into a farming family in Rathfriland, County Down, where she attended Banbridge Academy before moving on to study at Queen's University Belfast. While studying, she met her future husband and future DUP MP for North Belfast, Nigel Dodds.[citation needed]

Political career


In 2003, Dodds was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast West. She was the first Unionist elected to a regional assembly from West Belfast in more than 20 years (the last being Thomas Passmore to the 1982-86 Assembly).[citation needed] Her strongest support base during the election campaign was in the Shankill Road area of the constituency.[citation needed]

Following her election to the Assembly, Dodds contested the Court District Electoral Area in the 2005 Local Government Elections. On that occasion she polled in excess of three electoral quotas and her surplus votes enabled the election of two running mates. In that election, she polled more votes than any other local government candidate in Northern Ireland.[citation needed] Despite increasing her vote from the 2003 Assembly election, she narrowly lost her seat to Sinn Féin in 2007.[citation needed]

Dodds has also been active within Belfast City Council, where she was Chief Whip of the 14-councillor DUP group.[3] She chaired the Policy and Resources Committee on the council and actively supported a campaign to host a homecoming parade for the Royal Irish Regiment and other armed forces returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.[3]

European Parliament 2009-present

On 3 February 2009, Dodds was selected by the DUP as its candidate for the 2009 election to the European Parliament[4] and was elected an MEP on 8 June, representing Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

Despite her election, the results were disappointing for Dodds and her party. The DUP's share of the vote fell 14% to just over 18%. While the Westminster expenses scandal and a perceived poor performance in live debates were cited as reasons for the poor result,[5] Dodds herself blamed the decline in DUP votes on former DUP member Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) splinter party, who gained 66,000 first preference votes. Allister had accused the DUP of "betrayal" in going into government with Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin topped the poll, the first time a republican party had done so in a European election in Northern Ireland. Dodds was elected third, behind Jim Nicholson of the UUP,[5] and with fewer votes than the quota (the elections being held under the single transferable vote system).[5]

In September 2018, Dodds voted against a motion asserting the "existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded" - in line with most UKIP and Conservative Party MEPs.[6]

The DUP announced that following Carla Lockhart's election to the House of Commons in December 2019 Dodds would succeed her as MLA for Upper Bann. Dodds is expected to take up the position full-time, after the UK leaves the European Union.[2]

References


  1. "Your MEPs : Diane DODDS". European Parliament. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  2. "DUP's Diane Dodds to become Upper Bann MLA". itv.com. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  3. "Who We Are - Diane Dodds". mydup.com. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  4. "Diane Dodds to fight Euro poll". BBC News. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  5. "DUP's worst ever Euro poll result". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  6. [dead link]