David Ford (born 24 February 1951) is a politician who is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Ford has been leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland since 2001 and has been Northern Ireland Minister of Justice since April 2010.
Ford stood unsuccessfully for Antrim Borough Council in 1989, and entered politics full-time when be became general secretary of the Alliance Party. In that role, he was best known as a strong supporter of the then-leader John Alderdice and an advocate of better political organisation and community politics. He was elected to Antrim Borough Council in 1993, 1997 and - after leaving the Council in 2001 to concentrate on Assembly business - again in 2005.
In 1996, Ford stood unsuccessfully for election to the Northern Ireland Forum in South Antrim, but was a key member of Alliance's team to the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. In 1997, he obtained 12% of the vote in the general election in South Antrim, and in 1998 was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the constituency of the same name. He fought South Antrim again in the 2000 by-election and in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.
In 2004, Ford made good his leadership election pledge to work with other parties, as Alliance joined with the Workers' Party, Northern Ireland Conservatives and elements of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition to support Independent candidate John Gilliland in the European elections, achieving the best result for the centre ground for 25 years.
On 12 April 2010, Ford was chosen by the Assembly to become Northern Ireland's first Justice Minister in 38 years.
Ford was supported in the Assembly by the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. Separate candidates for the position were put forward by both the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP, being Danny Kennedy and Alban McGuinness respectively. Referencing the election, Ford said, "I am fully conscious that I am not the unanimous choice of this assembly but I do say to every member of this house, that we have a duty together to provide leadership and if we didn't know that before, we sadly had a reminder of it at half past twelve this morning."
June 4, 2010