The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party has been elevated to the House of Lords.
Nigel Dodds served as MP for North Belfast for almost two decades before losing his seat to John Finucane of Sinn Fein during last year’s general election.
Mr Dodds has been an influential figure in the DUP, taking part in multiple political negotiations including the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Conservative Party.
I am delighted that Nigel Dodds has been recognised in this dissolution list. Nigel has spent the majority of his working life serving the public in Northern Ireland as an elected representative at every level.https://t.co/0xrVjH6Yho pic.twitter.com/gi0VaLiaj3— Arlene Foster #WeâllMeetAgain (@DUPleader) July 31, 2020
DUP leader Arlene Foster described the peerage as a “rightful recognition of the significant contribution Nigel has thus far played in both local and national political life”.
“Nigel Dodds has spent the majority of his working life serving the public in Northern Ireland as an elected representative at every level,” she said.
“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.”
Mr Dodds said he was “honoured and humbled” to be granted a peerage.
He also expressed determination to represent Northern Ireland to the best of his abilities in the House of Lords.
“Our nation is confronting some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced,” he said.
“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.
“In all of my work my aim will be to make a positive contribution to keep Northern Ireland moving forward.”
Mr Dodds was first elected in 1985 to Belfast City Council where he served twice as lord mayor, then as the youngest to hold the post.
He went on to be elected the Northern Ireland Assembly representing North Belfast and served as social development minister, enterprise minister and finance minister.