Jim was first elected to Ards Borough Council in 1985 and served as Mayor in 1991/92.
He was elected as a member of the Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialogue in 1996 until it completed its work in 1998. He was then subsequently elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly representing Strangford.
Within the NI Assembly Jim
served on both the Public Accounts Committee and Agriculture
Committee. He was re-elected in both 2003 and 2007, stepping down
from the NI Assembly in 2010.
Jim was elected to Parliament at the General Election of 2010 where he received nearly 15,000 votes, with the next closest unionist receiving just over 9,000. He was again re-elected in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Jim is currently the DUP spokesperson on Health and Human Rights. He is also a member of the Ecclesiastical (Joint) Committee.