Nigel Dodds was re-elected MP for Belfast North on May 7th 2015 with 19069 votes, taking 47.0% of the vote.
Nigel Dodds was born in Derry and was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (whose other famous alumni include Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett) and St John's College, Cambridge (First class law MA) 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 Northern Irish bar. After working as a barrister he worked at the Secretariat of the European Parliament from 1984 to 1996.
His father Joe, was a long standing DUP member of Fermanagh District Council until his death in 2008. Nigel Dodds is married (to Diane Dodds); they have one son and one daughter, and live in Banbridge in 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.
The troubled and fragmented constituency of North Belfast, with its kaleidoscope of rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant areas, had historically been strong territory for the DUP, with Johnny McQuade representing the constituency in the British House of Commons from 1979-1983. However, the DUP had 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. However, in 2001, Dodds challenged sitting Ulster Unionist Party MP Cecil Walker, despite the dangers of losing the mixed constituency to a nationalist. However, Dodds won just over 40% of the vote, and a comfortable 6,387 majority over Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly, with 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 resigning on 11 October 2002.
DUP Advice Centre, 39 Shore Road, Belfast BT15 3PG
028 90 774774
Date of Birth
20 August 1958
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
020 7219 5679