6 April 1926
MP for North Antrim 1970 -
date. AM for
North Antrim 1998 - date.
45,926 in the
As the only European political leader to have founded his own
political party and church Ian Paisley has played a major role in
Northern Irish politics for generations.
Elected as MP for North Antrim in 1970 he founded the Democratic
Unionist Party in 1971 serving as its leader until the present day.
He was elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1970 and played
a central role in the opposition to the Sunningdale agreement in the
Often perceived as a hard line, anti-Catholic politican, Paisley has
consistently topped polls in Northern Ireland serving in the
Westminster and European parliaments as well as various Northern
The DUP became the largest party in the 2003 Northern Ireland
Assembly elections, a position they maintained in the 2007
After years of opposition to any contact with Sinn Fein Ian Paisley
was elected First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly with
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuiness as Deputy First Minister in May 2007.