Earlier this month the people of Lagan Valley re-elected the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson as their MP.
With an increase in his vote, this latest election makes Mr Donaldson, who was first elected in May 1997, the longest serving MP in Northern Ireland.
Following his election with 47.9% of the vote and just over 19,000 votes, Mr Donaldson has thanked everyone who voted for him, supported him and ran against him.
“We had a very good election campaign,” said Mr Donaldson.
“I was delighted we increased our vote and majority in Lagan Valley.
“I think this is recognition of the hard work our team had put in all year round in representing the community and dealing with local issues.
“I think it was also a very fair campaign and I would commend the other candidates for the very dignified and forthright way in which they put forward their views and policies without resorting to personality attacks we have seen in other areas.
“Generally parties in Lagan Valley work well together and as local MP that is something I am keen to promote and encourage because it is what the public expect.”
Following his re-election, Mr Donaldson was appointed to a number of new positions, both within his party and in the wider political arena.
“I have been appointed as the new Chief Whip of the DUP team at Westminster,” continued Mr Donaldson.
“Given that we have a government with a small majority, that role will become increasingly important and I will seek to exert as much influence as I can on behalf of Lagan Valley and Northern Ireland.
“I believe that unionist parties in the House of Commons are now well placed to influence the government on key issues and as Chief Whip it will be my role to ensure we use that influence wisely and effectively.
“I also hope to continue my work as a member of the UK delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.
“I was recently appointed Vice Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee of the Assembly and this is the first time any elected representative from Northern Ireland has held such a position.
“In this role I will also be dealing with local democracy, covering the whole of the Council of Europe and I will be able to use my experience in Northern Ireland to good effect in terms of my knowledge of local government and also on devolved assembly.
“As well as continuing to work on local issues, my priority as ever will be to help my constituents on issues that effect their daily life.
“I will also continue to play an active role in the ‘Christians in Parliament’ group, an all-party group on religious persecution. I am very concerned about a lot of Christians across the world and the prosecution they face on a daily basis.
“I will also continue to be Defence spokesperson for the DUP at Westminster and it remains a priority for me to get the full implementation of the Military Covenant, in order to ensure veterans and members of the armed forces are properly cared for and supported.”