Reg is married to Stella and has two children - Julie-Anne and Christopher. He went to school at Hillcrest Prep School, Belfast and the Royal School in Armagh and went on to read Economics at Queen's University. He have been actively involved in politics from his student days, when he became a member of the Queen's University Conservative and Unionist Association.
Reg gained experience in the private sector working in business and industry between 1970 and 1986 - for Goodyear International Corp., the House of Fraser, Switzer and Co., and McMahon and Co. - eventually founding his own business in 1986.
He has had an active career in Belfast City Council since he was first elected as a Councillor in 1985 and has twice been Lord Mayor of Belfast, in 1989 and again in 1993. In 1994 he was appointed an OBE for services to local government.
In the 1990s Reg served as a leading member of the Ulster Unionist negotiating teams both in the Brooke-Mayhew talks of 1991 and in the Castle Buildings talks, chaired by Senator George Mitchell, which ultimately led to the Belfast Agreement and the formation of the present Assembly in 1998. He was elected to the new Assembly and was Knighted (KBE) in the New Year's Honours List of 1999.
On the formation of the Executive in 1999, he was appointed as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, a position he held until the collapse of the power-sharing Executive in October 2002. In addition, during the summer of 2001 he served for a time as Acting First Minister of Northern Ireland. In 2004 Reg became Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Assembly Party and a year later in 2005, was elected Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
Reg is currently Minister for Employment and Learning, but if elected as an MP, will step down both as a minister and as an MLA.
Profile based on information supplied by the party.