Jeffrey Donaldson’s political career began in 1985 when he was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly with the distinction at the age of 22 of being the youngest person to win a seat in the Assembly. Jeffrey was subsequently elected to the UK Parliament on 1 May 1997 to represent the constituency of Lagan Valley and was re-elected in December 2019 for a seventh term. He is currently the longest-serving Westminster MP from Northern Ireland.
Jeffrey was a key member of the Ulster Unionist Party negotiating team in the talks culminating in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. He subsequently joined the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in January 2004.
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. In 2007 Jeffrey was appointed by Her Late Majesty the Queen as a Member of the Privy Council advising the UK Head of State on matters in the national interest.
In February 2008, Jeffrey was appointed to Ministerial Office in the Office of the First Minister in the Northern Ireland Government. He stepped down from the Northern Ireland Assembly following the 2010 General Election and has served as both Chief Whip and laterally as Parliamentary Leader of the DUP. Jeffrey is currently a member of the UK Parliamentary delegations to the UK/EU Partnership Assembly. In 2015 he was appointed by the Prime Minister as the UK Trade Envoy to Egypt and subsequently also to Cameroon.
In June 2016 Jeffrey was awarded a Knighthood by Her Late Majesty the Queen for his services to politics. In 2021, Jeffrey was elected Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. He is 60 years old, married to Eleanor with two children and is a member of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.