LiveEdwin Poots confirms he wants to replace Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP

Edwin Poots has confirmed he is running in the race to become the new leader of the DUP.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 6:09 pm

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Edwin Poots. (Photo/video: Edwin Poots/Twitter)

LIVE UPDATES: - Edwin Poots announces candidacy for DUP leadership

Last updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2021, 18:10

    Edwin Poots announces candidacy for DUP leadership

    Edwin Poots.

    Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced his intention to stand for the leadership of the DUP - writes David Young and Rebecca Black, PA.

    The widely anticipated move by Mr Poots comes 24 hours after Arlene Foster announced her intention to stand down as party leader and Stormont First Minister.

    The Lagan Valley Assembly member has been viewed as one of the main contenders to replace his departing leader, who was forced to quit in the face of an internal heave against her.

    Mrs Foster is standing down as DUP leader on May 28 and as First Minister at the end of June.

    In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Poots outlined his reasons for running.

    “I am a proud Northern Ireland man, I love its people and its place, and it faces many challenging times, it’s with that in mind, I’m putting my name forward for the leadership for the Democratic Unionist Party,” he said.

    “I look forward to the engagement and the debate with colleagues and the wider public in this contest.

    “Northern Ireland is a place that has had many great things over this last hundred years, I wish to see us rebuild, revitalise, reinvigorate and revive for the next hundred.”

    It is unclear whether Mr Poots will yet have competition in his bid to take charge of Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party.

    The DUP has never had a contested leadership race.

    Other names thought to be in the mix for the soon to be vacant leadership include MPs Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Gavin Robinson.

    Veteran East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson may also consider a run.

    There is some speculation that when Mrs Foster does depart, the twin roles she currently occupies could be split, with one politician taking on the role of party leader and another being appointed First Minister.

    That would potentially allow an MP to lead the party from Westminster while an MLA takes on the First Minister’s job.

    While Mrs Foster had been under mounting pressure from disgruntled DUP supporters for months, the pace at which her grip on power slipped this week has surprised many.

    Her resignation on Wednesday came a day after party colleagues unhappy with her leadership moved against her, with a majority of senior elected representatives signing a letter of no confidence.

    Discontent at the DUP’s Brexit strategy was a major factor, with party rank-and-file laying some of the blame for the emergence of an Irish Sea border at her door.

    Traditionalists from the party’s religious fundamentalist wing also harboured concerns over positions Mrs Foster had taken on some social issues.

    Mrs Foster was back at her desk on Thursday as she co-chaired a meeting of the Stormont Executive.

    Bookies slash odds of surprise DUP leadership contender

    Christopher Stalford.

    Bookmakers have slashed odds on DUP MLA, Christopher Stalford, becoming the next leader of the party and the next First Minister.

    Mr. Stalford, 38, has been an MLA for Belfast South since he was elected in 2016.

    The former Queen’s University Belfast student is also the incumbant Principal Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots is 8/11 making him the outright favourite with bookmakers, with Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson second favourite at 5/4.

    However, Christopher Stalford’s name had not been put forward as a possible contended until approximately an hour ago when BoyleSports.com slashed his odds from a huge outsider into 12/1 where only those in front of him are Gavin Robinson (11/1) and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots.

    Arlene Foster takes part in NI Executive meetings less than 24 hours after confirming she is quitting as leader and as First Minister

    Arlene Foster returned to Stormont business today when she took part in virtual Northern Ireland Executive meetings less than 24 hours after she confirmed her decision to resign as both DUP leader and First Minister - writes David Young, PA.

    Mrs Foster participated in virtual meetings of the devolved powersharing administration on Thursday, less than 24 hours after announcing her planned resignation in the face of an internal revolt against her leadership.

    One Stormont source described the exchanges between ministers as “business-like”.

    With Mrs Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill co-chairing proceedings, the Executive held its weekly discussion on the Covid-19 response before adjourning and then reconvening for a separate meeting on Brexit issues.

    Mrs Foster is standing down as DUP leader on May 28 and as First Minister at the end of June.

    The 50-year-old Fermanagh and South Tyrone Assembly Member has also signalled an intention to quit politics altogether, with Wednesday’s resignation statement speaking of preparing to “depart the political stage”.

    Attention now turns to who will replace her at head of both her party and Northern Ireland’s devolved government.

    MPs Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Gavin Robinson, both viewed as moderates, and the more hardline Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots are among the names emerging as potential successors.

    There is some speculation that when Mrs Foster does depart, the twin roles she currently occupies could be split, with one politician taking on the role of party leader and another being appointed First Minister.

    That would potentially allow an MP to lead the party from Westminster while an MLA takes on the First Minister’s job.

    While Mrs Foster had been under mounting pressure from disgruntled DUP supporters for months, the pace at which her grip on power slipped this week has surprised many.

    Her resignation came a day after party colleagues unhappy with her leadership moved against her, with a majority of senior elected representatives signing a letter of no confidence.

    Discontent at the DUP’s Brexit strategy was a major factor, with party rank-and-file laying some of the blame for the emergence of an Irish Sea border at her door.

    Traditionalists from the party’s religious fundamentalist wing also harboured concerns over positions Mrs Foster had taken on some social issues.

    A "total mess" is how one senior member of the DUP described the party's plan to install a new leader after incumbent, Arlene Foster, announced her resignation as both leader and First Minister on Wednesday.

    A "total mess" is how one senior member of the DUP described the party's plan to install a new leader after incumbent, Arlene Foster, announced her resignation as both leader and First Minister on Wednesday.

    As well as raising concerns about how the party will select their new leader the senior source suggested the move could result in an early election - taking place several months before the end of this current mandate in May 2022.

    Yesterday, DUP leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster, confirmed she would be resigning as DUP leader on May 28 and as First Minister before the end of June.

    No one has officially confirmed that they intend to contest the leadership but the favourite to succeed Mrs. Foster is Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots.

    The three things the new leader of the DUP must commit to, according to Jamie Bryson

    Edwin Poots reportedly not interested in being next First Minister unless he is also DUP leader

    The favourite in the race to succeed Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP, Edwin Poots, is believed to have signalled he is not interested in becoming the new First Minister for Northern Ireland unless he can be crowned as the new leader of the DUP.

    There were reports on Wednesday that the DUP was considering splitting the leadership between Westminster and Stormont i.e. the new leader would be based in Westminster and the new First Minister in Stormont.

    Local media reported on Thursday morning that in the hours after Arlene Foster confirmed she was to resign as leader of the DUP, the top echelons of the party were considering installing a new leader in Westminster with one of its existing MLAs taking up the reigns as First Minister.

    However, according to reports, Mr. Poots is believed to have expressed an unwillingness to do this and is thought to have sights firmly fixed on becoming both the new party leader and the new First Minister.

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