Lady Sylvia Hermon has been the MP for North Down since 2001. First elected for the Ulster Unionist Party, she is now an independent MP.
Born Sylvia Paisley in County Tyrone. she went to Dungannon High School before studying Law at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, obtaining a First. She went on to lecture in Law at the Queen’s University of Belfast at the same time as David Trimble. She did not enter politics until 1998 when she joined the Ulster Unionist Party She rose to a place on the party Executive by the following year.
Hermon became Chair of the North Down branch of the UUP in 2001 and held this position until 2003. In 2001 she was also appointed UUP Spokesperson for Youth and Women’s Issues, Home Affairs and Trade and Industry. She subsequently took responsibility for Culture, Media and Sport in 2002. Outside of the UUP, Hermon has also been involved in policing support and pensioners’ rights campaigns.
Hermon was the only Ulster Unionist to be returned to Westminster in the 2005 general election
On 23 February 2010, Lady Hermon confirmed that she would not be seeking the nomination as a Conservative and Unionist candidate. On 6 May 2010 standing as an Independent candidate she was re-elected with a large majority.
Lady Hermon is a longstanding supporter of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust and helped launch its Northern Ireland network centre. She also sat on the All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism in 2005-6.