Dodds Decision Reflects Waning Local Influence of MPs

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), December 8, 2015 | Go to article overview

Dodds Decision Reflects Waning Local Influence of MPs


The decision of Nigel Dodds not to stand for DUP leader has taken political pundits by surprise.

The party's deputy and Westminster leader is currently at the height of his career.

The North Belfast MP leads a contingent of eight MPs at a time when David Cameron only needs to suffer rebellion by six backbench Tories to lose his Commons majority.

Mr Dodds has plenty to concentrate his mind at Westminster, and he said as much in his statement yesterday afternoon.

Even so, it is surprising that he has decided not to seek a position that was, it seemed, his for the taking.

Mr Dodds has been prominent in unionism for 30 years yet is a relatively young 57 -- a decade younger than Peter Robinson. a[umlaut]His background as a Cambridge-educated barrister would win the respect of the Tory elites that could prove so useful in the current parliament. But the logic that Mr Dodds cited for not standing yesterday, and indeed previously, is compelling. A DUP leader based in Westminster would face managerial headaches, now that being both an MP and MLA is thought unacceptable and with key party operatives at Stormont. …

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