The Hon. Jeffrey Donaldson
Member of the British Parliament
Mr Jeffrey Donaldson is 49 years old and is married to Eleanor with two children - Claire aged 21 and Laura aged 19. He served with the Ulster Defence Regiment in Northern Ireland from 1981 to 1985, specialising in counter-terrorism operations.
His political career began when he joined the Young Unionist movement at the age of 18 and went on to become Chairman of the Young Unionist Council in 1985 and 1986. In 1985 he was also elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly with the distinction at the age of 22 of being the youngest person to win a seat at Stormont. Subsequently, Jeffrey was elected to the UK Parliament on 1 May 1997 to represent the constituency of Lagan Valley and was re-elected to the House of Commons on 6 May 2010 for a fourth term.
He was a key member of the Ulster Unionist Party negotiating team in the talks culminating in the Belfast Agreement in April 1998. He subsequently joined the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in January 2004 and became a senior member of their negotiating team for the review of the Belfast Agreement, which culminated in a new Agreement at St Andrew’s in the autumn of 2006.
Following the restoration of Devolved Government in May 2007, Jeffrey was appointed as the lead DUP member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board. He also chaired the Assembly and Executive Review Committee whose remit included the preparations for the devolution of Policing and Justice Powers to the Assembly.
Jeffrey was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen as a Member of the Privy Council with a special interest in security and defence matters and global terrorism. He is the DUP Spokesman on Defence issues in the House of Commons.
In February 2008, Jeffrey was appointed to Ministerial Office in the Office of the First Minister in the Northern Ireland Government. As a Minister, he held responsibility for Victims issues, Children and Young People, policies on Older Persons, co-ordinating Executive business in the Assembly and generally assisting the First Minister with the discharge of his Ministerial functions.
He stepped down from the Northern Ireland Assembly following the 2010 General Election and was appointed a member of the Defence Select Committee in the House of Commons. He is also a member of the UK Delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly where he is the British representative on the Committee for Conflict Prevention through Dialogue and Reconciliation.
Jeffrey is currently Chairman of the recently established Causeway Institute for Peace building and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland which seeks to build strong community relations and to promote continuing support for the peace process. He is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues and has participated in various initiatives to promote conflict resolution in Iraq, Cyprus, Kosovo, the Basque Region (Spain) and Transdneistria (Moldova). He is also a founding member and Co-Chairman of the newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism.