Who is UUP leader Doug Beattie?


Date of birth: October 13, 1965

Family: Married Margaret in 1987; two sons

Education: Left school at 16 with no formal qualifications and trained as a soldier at Taunton in Somerset

Career: Served in the Army from 1982-2009, commissioned officer from 2004-2009. Member of the Ulster Unionist Party assembly since 2016 and leader since 2021. Author of two books

Parliamentary constituency: None, represents Upper Bann in the Northern Ireland Assembly

Who is he?

When Doug Beattie took over as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in May 2021, he became the party’s third leader in just over four years.

The party has struggled at elections since being outpaced by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) at the 2003 Stormont poll and the 2005 Westminster election.

But in the months following Beattie’s election as leader, the UUP overtook the DUP in the opinion polls.

The ‘Beattie bounce’ did not last long and the UUP subsequently faced challenging local and parliamentary elections – but with some high-profile candidates this time around, Mr Beattie still has hopes of reviving his party’s fortunes.

What did Doug Beattie do before politics?

Mr Beattie was born in 1965 on an army base in Hampshire, where his father served in the Royal Ulster Rifles.

The family later moved back to Portadown in County Armagh, but Mr Beattie followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Royal Irish Rangers at the age of 16, after which he served in Kosovo, East Africa and Iraq and rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major. .

In 2005, he was commissioned as an officer with the rank of captain and served three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

For his actions during fierce fighting for several days in September 2006, he was awarded the Military Cross – the third highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy.

He has written two books about his experiences in Afghanistan.

When did he get involved in politics?

After retiring from the army, he joined the UUP and was elected as a councilor in 2014 before winning an Upper Bann seat in the parliamentary elections two years later.

There was speculation that he would succeed Mike Nesbitt as UUP leader in 2019 and although he supported Steve Aiken instead, he would eventually take over from Mr Aiken in 2021.

He became embroiled in controversy in early 2022 when he made a joke about the former DUP leader’s wife Edwin Pootswhich Mr Poots said had humiliated women and specifically humiliated his wife.

Mr Beattie apologized, but a number of historic tweets subsequently emerged, many of which contained derogatory comments about women.

He apologized again, said he was “deeply ashamed” and managed to stay in place as UUP leader.

Where is the UUP at the moment?

The UUP has had a tough time at Westminster in the last few elections. In 2010, the country failed to win seats for the first time since the creation of Northern Ireland.

In 2015 the party won two, but in 2017 both MPs were defeated and no candidates were successful in 2019 either.

At the last parliamentary election in 2022, the UUP won nine seats, up from 10 in the previous election, although this was enough to keep it entitled to one ministerial post in Stormont.

The 2023 council elections were also blood-curdling: the party lost 21 seats and ended up with a total of 54.

Mr Beattie has two high-profile candidates who will attract a lot of attention during his campaign.

One is Robin Swann in South Antrim, while in North Down retired army officer Tim Collins hopes to dethrone the Alliance’s Stephen Farry.

He will also face questions about treaties, where one side withdraws in favor of the other.

These are common in Northern Ireland, where one of the two unionist or nationalist parties stands aside to avoid splitting the vote.

In Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Beattie said he was against a pact and the DUP subsequently announced it would not field its own candidate.

There is likely to be pressure on the UUP to stand aside in Belfast North, where the DUP was ousted by Sinn Féin last time.

General election story bannerGeneral election story banner


?s=598314&p=news.articles.cqee9r446ejo.page&x1=%5Burn%3Abbc%3Aoptimo%3Aasset%3Acqee9r446ejo%5D&x4=%5Ben gb%5D&x5=%5Bhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2Fcqee9r446ejo%5D&x7=%5Barticle%5D&x8=%5Bsynd nojs ISAPI%5D&x9=%5BWho+is+UUP+leader+Doug+Beattie%3F%5D&x11=%5B2024 06 06T09%3A12%3A22.29Z%5D&x12=%5B2024 06

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top