Diane Dodds

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Diane Dodds

Diane Dodds MEP, Strasbourg - Diliff.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
4 June 2009
Preceded byJim Allister
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 61)
Rathfriland, County Down, Northern Ireland
NationalityBritish
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Nigel Dodds
Children2
Alma materQueen's University Belfast
ProfessionTeacher
WebsiteOfficial website

Diane Jean Dodds MEP (born 16 August 1958)[1] is a Democratic Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland. She has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Northern Ireland constituency since 2009. She previously sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2003 to 2007 as MLA for West Belfast.

Early life[edit]

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]

Dodds qualified as a teacher and taught history and English in Laurelhill High School, Lisburn.

Political career[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

European Parliament 2009-present[edit]

On 3 February 2009, Dodds was selected by the DUP as its candidate for the 2009 election to the European Parliament[2] 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,[3] 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,[3] and with fewer votes than the quota (the elections being held under the single transferable vote system).[3]

In July 2009, on the day when the MEPs were about to take their seats, Diane Dodds refused to take her seat next to the newly elected British National Party MEPs, Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin.[4]

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.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Your MEPs : Diane DODDS". European Parliament. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Diane Dodds to fight Euro poll". BBC News. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "DUP's worst ever Euro poll result". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  4. ^ "BNP leader Nick Griffin snubbed on first day in European Parliament as fellow MEP refuses to sit next to him". Mail Online. DMG Media. 14 July 2009.
  5. ^ https://www.votewatch.eu/en/term8-the-situation-in-hungary-motion-for-resolution-vote-text-as-a-whole.html

External links[edit]

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Joe Hendron
MLA for Belfast West
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Jennifer McCann