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Dodds 'humbled' to take his seat in Lords

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Peerage: Nigel Dodds

Peerage: Nigel Dodds

Peerage: Nigel Dodds

Veteran DUP member Nigel Dodds has said he feels honoured and humbled after he was granted a peerage.

Mr Dodds served as North Belfast MP for 18 years until losing his seat to Sinn Fein's John Finucane last December.

A key player in the DUP over the past 30 years, Mr Dodds led the party in the House of Commons during their confidence and supply agreement with Theresa May's Government.

Mr Dodds is also credited with playing a key role in the 'Leave' campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The DUP veteran survived an IRA assassination attempt in December 1996 while visiting his ill son at the Royal Children's Hospital in Belfast.

He will be joined in the House of Lords by Northern Ireland-born former Labour MP Kate Hoey. During a long and distinguished political career Mr Dodds also served as an councillor, Lord Mayor of Belfast, MLA and Minister in various Stormont departments.

Mr Dodds said he was "very honoured and humbled" to be elevated to the Lords.

He will join fellow DUP peers Wallace Browne, Willie Hay, William McCrea and Maurice Morrow.

It is not yet known what title Mr Dodds will use as a Lord.

He thanked friends and colleagues for their support over the years.

"Throughout my political career I have always endeavoured to represent all of my constituents to the very best of my ability in whatever forum I have had the honour to serve," Mr Dodds said.

"At this new juncture of my career I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Northern Ireland in Parliament."

And he said he was delighted to be continuing to play a role in political life.

"Our nation is confronting some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced. There are very important issues which we in Northern Ireland must continue to work through, building on the progress our society has made since I first entered politics," Mr Dodds added.

"In all of my work my aim will be to make a positive contribution to keep Northern Ireland moving forward."

First Minister Arlene Foster led the tributes to Mr Dodds.

"On behalf of our party and indeed the many people across Northern Ireland to whom Nigel Dodds has served, I am delighted that he has been recognised in this dissolution list," the DUP leader said.

"Nigel Dodds has spent the majority of his working life serving the public in Northern Ireland as an elected representative at every level.

"He is widely recognised and respected throughout Northern Ireland and beyond for his record of public service and his strong advocacy for the Union and Northern Ireland's place within it, serving the public through various elected positions for 34 years."

Belfast Telegraph