15 October 1944
Ulster Unionist Party
2,058 in the 2001 Westminster Elections
David Trimble was
educated at Bangor Grammar School and Queens University, Belfast
and worked as a Barrister and University Lecturer at Queens before
entering Politics in the 1970s. He joined the Vanguard Party and
then became a member of the Ulster Unionists. He stood in the 1973
Northern Ireland Elections against the Sunningdale Power sharing
agreement pledging ""not to allow murderers and Quislings to destroy
Ulster and hand it over to the republicans". He also worked to
organise the 1974 General Strike that brought down the Stormont
Government and led to direct rule from Westminster.
Career has seen him move from the hard-line display of Orange Order
defiance when he marched down the Garvaghy Road hand in hand with
Ian Paisley in 1995 to signing the Good Friday Agreement and going
into Government with Sinn Fein and other Nationalist groups in 1998.
In the words of
David Mckittrick, Trimble went on: "a remarkable political journey
from the hard-line fringe of Unionism to the moderate centre ground;
from involvement with Bill Craig's ultra-rightwing Vanguard to
leadership of a government including the former IRA chief-of-staff
He was elected for
Upper Bann in the first Northern Ireland Assembly elections in 1998
and went on to become Northern Ireland's First Minister. Throughout
his term of office Trimble faced a number of backbench criticism of
his leadership especially over the perceived lack of movement on
The Northern Ireland
Assembly was first suspended on 11 February 2000 by the Secretary of
State to prevent David Trimble going through with his threat to
resign if there had not been any progress on IRA decommissioning.
The suspension was lifted on 29 May 2000 only to be suspended again
on 14 October 2002 after allegations of IRA intelligence gathering.
Trimble was jointly
awarded the Noble Peace Prize with John Hume of the SDLP in December
1998. In his acceptance speech Trimble said "What we democratic
politicians want in Northern Ireland is not some utopian society but
a normal society. The best way to secure that normalcy is the tried
and trusted method of parliamentary democracy. So the Northern
Ireland Assembly is the primary institutional instrument for the
development of a normal society in Northern Ireland."