The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds has been elevated to the House of Lords.
Mr Dodds served as MP for North Belfast for almost two decades before losing his seat to Sinn Féin's John Finucane during last year's UK general election.
Mr Dodds said he was “honoured and humbled” to be granted a peerage and said he would represent Northern Ireland to the best of his abilities in the House of Lords.
“Our nation is confronting some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced,” he said. “There are very important issues which we in Northern Ireland must continue to work through, building on the progress our society has made since I first entered politics.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster described the peerage as a "rightful recognition of the significant contribution Nigel has thus far played in both local and national political life".
She said he “has spent the majority of his working life serving the public in Northern Ireland as an elected representative at every level.”
Mr Dodds was first elected in 1985 to Belfast City Council where he served twice as lord mayor, then as the youngest to hold the post.
He went on to be elected the Northern Ireland Assembly representing North Belfast and served as social development minister, enterprise minister and finance minister. – PA