Margaret Ritchie is the SDLP Member of Parliament for South Down.
Margaret Ritchie’s political career began in 1985 when she was elected to Down District Council representing the Rowallane Area. Later she was appointed Parliamentary Assistant and Political Researcher to the MP for South Down, Eddie McGrady. Margaret was subsequently elected to Down District Council in successive elections from 1985. She was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003 and again in 2007.
She was appointed Minister for Social Development on 8th of May 2007 and was the sole SDLP member of the new Northern Ireland Executive. Her Ministerial portfolio included responsibility for housing, urban regeneration, community development, Child Support and the Social Security Agency.
When she took up office in May 2007, Margaret Ritchie refocused attention on social and affordable housing. She launched the New Housing Agenda in February 2008 – an unprecedented series of initiatives and programmes aimed at tackling homelessness and providing much needed social and affordable housing, as well as helping people to reach the first step of the housing ladder in Northern Ireland.
In June 2009 Margaret resigned her council seat. While this move was tinged with sadness, Miss Ritchie will continue to work and deliver for the people in her Rowallane district council electoral constituency.
In May 2010 Margaret Ritchie was elected was MP for South Down, topping the poll with 20,648 votes. She is committed to working tirelessly for all the people of South Down. In July 2012 Margaret resigned her seat at the NI Assembly to focus on her role as Member of Parliament for South Down. She is currently a member of the EFRA committee in Westminster.
Margaret Ritchie’s love of South Down is well known and she is an active lobbyist for a wide range of causes in the area. She is also committed to building a shared future in Northern Ireland and this theme permeates all aspects of her political life, from local councillor, to Minister to MP for South Down.