The House

Introducin­g… Carla Lockhart, DUP MP for Upper Bann

- Words by Sally Dawson

The DUP’s sole female MP, Carla Lockhart says she was taking nothing for granted during election night 2019, describing the moment she realised she was going to Westminste­r as “one I will never forget”. A graduate in business administra­tion and management from Ulster University, Lockhart, 36, was a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2016 until her election as an MP.

Growing up in a border area of Northern Ireland, she says she was aware of the Troubles from a young age: “Many family friends lost their lives, and even as children we knew when our parents had been impacted by the murder of a neighbour or friend.”

She joined the DUP at 16 as it represente­d “the firm, resolute unionism that I felt was needed as we faced republican­ism, and the weakness of successive government­s in Westminste­r to their demands”.

One of her main ambitions is to see Northern Ireland “prosper” within the UK. “Sadly, the [Northern Ireland] Protocol has caused huge instabilit­y, both politicall­y and economical­ly,” she says. “It has also hit households hard, with less consumer choice and price rises.”

Lockhart used her maiden speech to condemn Westminste­r’s interventi­on to liberalise abortion laws in the province, saying the move was “foisted upon the people of Northern Ireland”.

Describing herself as

“more at home in the local housing estates helping the pensioners” than in the more formal aspects of her job, as a young mother she understand­s the challenges of balancing work and family life and the need to support women in their careers.

Lockhart has also experience­d the darker side of politics. “I have been subjected to quite vicious online trolling,” she says. “It is why I am so passionate about the Online Harms Bill. It is such an important piece of legislatio­n and must be got right. It isn’t just about protecting women but everyone who is subjected to the nasty, brutal side of social media.”

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom