Leader of Northern Ireland's DUP Poots to step down

Leader of Northern Ireland's DUP Poots to step down

Mr Poots was forced out on Thursday night (17 June) following a revolt within his party over a deal struck with Sinn Féin and the nomination of Paul Givan as Northern Ireland's First Minister.

Poots noted that he had asked the party chairman to commence an electoral process within the party to allow for a new DUP head to be elected.

According to Ulster Unionist Party leader and member of the Legislative Assembly, Doug Beattie, "unionism deserves better" and "needs modern, confident, progressive leadership and a roadmap for recovery and renewal", because it "has been fed a diet of fear and negativity" for too long, he said.

The DUP is looking for another new leader after Mr Poots announced his intention to quit after a brief but tumultuous reign in the party's top job.

According to reports, an urgent party meeting was held on Thursday evening after Mr Poots had proceeded with the nomination of Paul Girvan as First Minister, despite significant opposition from his own party.

Jeevan was chosen as the prime minister, who took office on Monday, June 14.

Mr Poots had refused, but Sinn Féin approached Westminster directly, and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed that if the DUP had not agreed to the legislation by October, the British Government would enact it.

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For there will be a seven-day period for both the DUP and Sinn Fein to put forward their First and Deputy First Ministers.

So far, Givan is now is expected to be sworn into office as the new first minister, with Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill as deputy first minister. At the close of the meeting, Poots was spotted leaving but did not offer comment.

He is stepping down as party leader after several weeks of internal crisis within the DUP.

At the time, the agriculture minister had described the role as DUP leader as the "greatest honour" of his life.

According to the statement, he would remain at the post until a successor is elected.

Mr Poots, who took over as leader from Arlene Foster in May, had narrowly defeated Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in a leadership vote.

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