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Jeffrey Donaldson

Official portrait of Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson crop 2.jpg
Donaldson in 2017
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
Assumed office
30 June 2021
Deputy Paula Bradley
Preceded by Edwin Poots
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in the House of Commons
Assumed office
17 December 2019
Leader Arlene Foster
Edwin Poots
Himself
Preceded by Nigel Dodds
Democratic Unionist Party Chief Whip in the House of Commons
In office
8 May 2015 – 17 December 2019
Leader Nigel Dodds
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Sammy Wilson
Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
In office
26 February 2008 – July 2009
Serving with Gerry Kelly
Preceded by Ian Paisley Jr
Succeeded by Robin Newton
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Lagan Valley
In office
26 November 2003 – June 2010
Preceded by Patrick Roche
Succeeded by Paul Givan
Member of Parliament
for Lagan Valley
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Sir James Molyneaux
Majority 6,499 (14.3%)
Personal details
Born 7 December 1962 (1962-12-07) (age 58)
Kilkeel, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Democratic Unionist Party
(since 2004)
Other political
affiliations
Ulster Unionist Party
(until 2003)
Spouse(s)
Eleanor Cousins (m. 1987)
Children 2
Alma mater Castlereagh College
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch/service  United Kingdom Army
Rank Corporal
Unit Ulster Defence Regiment

Sir Jeffrey Mark Donaldson (born 7 December 1962) is a Northern Ireland Unionist politician who has served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since June 2021. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Lagan Valley since 1997, and leader of the DUP in the UK House of Commons since 2019. He is Northern Ireland's longest-serving current MP.

Donaldson is a member of the Orange Order and served in the Ulster Defence Regiment during the Troubles. He was also the campaign manager for the UUP MP Enoch Powell's successful re-election campaigns in 1983 and 1986. He was the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) candidate for Lagan Valley at the 1997 general election, and was elected as an MP to the House of Commons. He simultaneously represented the same constituency as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2003 to 2010. Donaldson is known for his opposition to UUP leader David Trimble's support of the Good Friday Agreement during the Northern Ireland peace process, especially from 1998 to 2003. In 2003, Donaldson resigned from the UUP, becoming a member of the DUP in the following year.

He served in the Northern Ireland Executive from 2008 to 2009 as a Junior Minister for First Minister Peter Robinson. After Nigel Dodds lost his seat at the 2019 general election, Donaldson became the DUP Westminster leader. He was a candidate in the May 2021 Democratic Unionist Party leadership election, losing to Edwin Poots. After Poots resigned the following month, Donaldson was elected unopposed to succeed Poots in the June DUP leadership election; he was confirmed in the post by the party's ruling executive on 30 June.

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