Peter Robinson Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, a post attained after 20-odd years in the large shadow of Ian Paisley. He has had moderate and extreme phases and will not be as pally as Paisley with Martin McGuinness but is all in favour of power sharing with Sinn Fein.
Rev Ian Paisley Former leader stepped down after 40 years as Belfast's loudest politician. Often accused of political incitement, last year he became pacific elder statesman after agreeing deal with republicans. Grass-roots grumbles cost him his jobs as head of his party and church.
Nigel Dodds Robinson's deputy and local finance minister, he is known as a dour personality who had his doubts about sharing power. Is known for his ability – he has a Cambridge law degree – and his wife is also in politics, one of a number of DUP family dynasties.
Rev William McCrea A minister of religion known for being on the hard right of Northern Ireland politics. Bursts into song at the end of his speeches as he is known for singing both hymns and country and western tunes. Had doubts about power sharing but has gone for it.
Iris Robinson Peter's wife is an MP and chairman of the health committee in Belfast. Deferential towards her husband, she once described herself as "not the brightest bulb in the chandelier". Centre of controversy recently after she suggested gays need psychiatric help.
Sammy Wilson A long-time friend and colleague of Peter Robinson, he once dated Paisley's daughter Rhonda. A very humorous speaker, he was outed as a nudist years ago when a tabloid newspaper got hold of some (very innocent) holiday snaps.
Jeffrey Donaldson One of Ulster's best vote-getters, he was a thorn in the flesh of former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, until he defected to the DUP. An effective broadcaster, who is sometimes twitted for his resemblance to Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell.
David Simpson Well-off businessman from the tough town of Portadown, his chief claim to fame is that he got his seat by defeating former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble. Bit of a hardliner, even in DUP terms.
Gregory Campbell Known for appearing in the 'State of the Union' programme which caused a BBC crisis in the 1980s, when he was pictured loading his legally held revolver. He has just been appointed a minister in Belfast.
Lady (Sylvia) Hermon Sole Commons representative of the Ulster Unionist Party, which was all but wiped out by the Paisleyite steamroller. Married to a former chief constable, she is known as a particularly moderate unionist.
Ann Widdecombe A member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship who converted to Catholicism after the Church of England allowed women to be ordained. Her famous jibe of "something of the night" about Michael Howard caused lasting damage to the former Tory leader. Bob Spink Former Tory MP who defected to UKIP last year after his local party threatened to deselect him. He was the Eurosceptic party's first MP. Anti-abortion, anti-immigration and in favour of capital punishment. His vote in favour of 42 days was at odds with UKIP leadership.