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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Donaldson resigns as DUP Leader

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

The Officers of the Democratic Unionist Party have issued a statement today (Friday 29th March), confirming Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has stepped down with immediate effect as Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.


Mr Donaldson confirmed to Party Officers that he has been charged with allegations of "historical nature".



The development comes after Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland yesterday arrested and charged a 61-year-old man for non-recent sexual offences.


A 57-year-old woman was also arrested and charged at the time for aiding and abetting additional offences.


A police spokesperson said:


"Both are due to appear before Newry Magistrates Court on 24 April.


"As is usual procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service."



Last night all of Mr Donaldson's social media profiles, including X, Instagram, and Facebook, along with his personal website, were taken down.


In a statement the Officers of the Democratic Unionist Party said:


"The Party Chairman has received a letter from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP confirming that he has been charged with allegations of an historical nature and indicating that he is stepping down as Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party with immediate effect.



"In accordance with the Party Rules, the Party Officers have suspended Mr Donaldson from membership, pending the outcome of a judicial process.


"The Party Officers have this morning unanimously appointed Mr Gavin Robinson MP as the Interim Party Leader."



Sir Jeffrey was first elected to the (1982-86) Northern Ireland Assembly in a by-election in 1985 aged 22. From 1983 to 1985 Jeffrey also served as Agent to the Rt Hon Enoch Powell MP.


In 1997 Sir Jeffrey was elected as the Member of Parliament for Lagan Valley and he has been re-elected at every subsequent election. He is Northern Ireland’s longest serving sitting MP.


In 2003 Sir Jeffrey was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly and represented Lagan Valley at Stormont until he stepped down in 2010. Whilst an Assembly Member Sir Jeffrey served as Chairman of the Assembly & Executive Review Committee and subsequently as a Junior Minister in the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister with special responsibility for issues including children and young people, policy on older people and support for the victims of terrorism.



Sir Jeffrey has been elected by the people of Lagan Valley seven times, most recently in 2019. On Thursday 30th June 2021, Sir Jeffrey became Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.


He was awarded a knighthood in 2016 for political service.



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