Edwin Poots: I will nominate Paul Givan as first minister today
DUP leader Edwin Poots has confirmed he will nominate Paul Givan as first minister on Thursday.
A post-midnight announcement by the UK Government committing to pass the stalled laws at Westminster in the autumn, if they are not moved at the Stormont Assembly in the interim, was enough to convince Sinn Fein to drop its threat not to nominate a deputy first minister as joint head of the devolved executive.
Mr Poots has now confirmed he will, as previously indicated, nominate his Lagan Valley consitutuency colleague Mr Givan as Arlene Foster’s successor as first minister.
In a letter to DUP MPs and MLAs, Mr Poots wrote: “We have never been in the business of playing fast and loose with devolution. Our waiting lists, economic recovery and schools are too important for party political games.
“Sinn Fein set a deadline of 24 June for cultural legislation to be on the floor of the NI Assembly. That has not happened. Their decision to set ultimatums and deadlines was unnecessary. The DUP is not in the business of pre-conditions. Our mandate must be respected.
“The DUP negotiated NDNA and it should be implemented, in all its parts. It was a careful balance of agreements on a range of issues including culture.
“Importantly though, the place for such legislation is the NI Assembly. That has been our consistent position throughout and remains so.
“Paul Givan will be nominated for the position of First Minister at the earliest opportunity. It is regretful that there was ever such instability created by Sinn Fein.
“We must now focus on advancing those issues from NDNA which matter to everyone whether that be our waiting lists, educational underachievement, the implementation of the Military Covenant, additional PSNI officers as well as the key elements of the cultural legislation which strengthen the unionist place here.”