DUP Leader Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said,
“On behalf of our party and indeed many throughout Northern Ireland I welcome this recognition for Peter. Peter Weir has given a lifetime of service to his constituents and to the Pro-Union cause in Northern Ireland. He will be a very welcome addition to our Parliamentary team in the House of Lords as well as a strong advocate for Northern Ireland and the Pro-Union cause throughout the United Kingdom.
I am also delighted that our friend and former First Minister Rt Hon Dame Arlene Foster has been conferred a peerage and will sit in the Lords. Arlene will be a strong voice for Northern Ireland and this is rightful and worthy recognition for her contribution and service to Northern Ireland. We look forward to working closely with her in the time ahead.”
Mr Peter Weir said,
“I am very honoured and humbled to be appointed to the House of Lords as a nominee of the DUP. At Westminster, I will be operating as a full time working Peer, advocating on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, and promoting the great cause of the Union.
Northern Ireland needs stability and prosperity, and alongside my colleagues at Westminster, the Assembly and local Councils, I will focus on delivering those twin objectives, particularly through the necessary removal of the Protocol, which acts as a barrier to good governance and the economic well-being of our people.”
I am very grateful to my many friends and colleagues who have supported and worked with me over many years and with the opening of this new chapter I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve the people of Northern Ireland in Parliament.”
Mr Peter Weir BL
Peter Weir BL was born in Newtownards in 1968, and grew up in Bangor, County Down where he still resides. He was educated at Ballyholme Primary School, Bangor Grammar and The Queen’s University of Belfast, graduating with joint honours in Law and Accountancy in 1991, with subsequent postgraduate qualifications of Certificate of Professional Legal Studies and a Masters (Mssc) in Irish Political Studies.
Called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1992, he practised as a barrister until being elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998. Mr Weir also lectured for a term at the University of Ulster in Constitutional and Administrative Law. He was a member of the Senate of Queen’s University Belfast from 1996 to 2001.
Peter was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996, representing the constituency of North Down. He served as an MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly for twenty-four years (1998-2022) representing North Down for 19 years and Strangford for 5 years. He was also a member of North Down Borough Council for 8 years, and served a term as President of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA).
From 2015-6, he was Chair of the Education Committee in the Assembly. He also served as Chair of the NI Assembly Audit Committee and of the Assembly Executive Review Committee, which considered wider Assembly reform.
Peter joined the Democratic Unionist Party in 2002 and from 2010-2016 was Chief Whip of the DUP Assembly Group and the Party representative on the Assembly Business Committee and the Assembly Commission.
From 2005 to 2010 Peter was a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, becoming leader of the DUP Group on the Board. This was a critical period for policing in Northern Ireland with all parties committing to support policing structures and law and order in 2007, and the devolution of Policing and Justice in 2010.
Peter Weir was appointed Minister for Education in Northern Ireland in May 2016 until March 2017 and was again appointed as Minister for Education when devolution was restored in 2020 until June 2021, the latter phase running alongside the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Education Minister Peter prioritised resources to increase funding for schools, and increased the number of Nurture Units - focusing on early intervention for vulnerable children, by 50 %. He implemented legislative changes to improve support for Special Educational Needs.
As part of a wider need to reform the education system in Northern Ireland Peter Weir established the terms of reference for and initiated the selection process for the Independent Review of Education, which is now established and conducting its work.