Edwin Poots publishes DUP leadership manifesto - here's a summary of what he promises to do if elected new leader

Edwin Poots has published DUP leadership manifesto.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 4:30 pm

Mr. Poots was the first person to put himself forward as a possible successor to current leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster.

Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson has also confirmed he is to contest the leadership race.

The election is due to be held on Friday May 14, 2021.

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Edwin Poots pictured at Stormont last week. (Photo: Presseye)

Mr. Poots is calling the document his Manifesto for Reform and indeed, the opening line includes both the words "revitalise" and "rebuild".

A few paragraphs later Mr. Poots says the DUP must be "restructured and re-energised" and confirmed that if elected he will separate the position of leader and First Minister for Northern Ireland stating "one person cannot do justice to both demanding jobs".

If successful, Mr. Poots says he would use his position as party leader to "oversee the work of a new ministerial team and the day-to-day management of the party".

Mr. Poots goes on to tell his fellow party members that one of his main priorities as leader would be to give a "resounding response" to any suggestion of a border poll on Irish unity.

Mr. Poots also claims he has a "plan that will transform the DUP structure and functions" but offers no details on what his plan will look like.

In terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Mr. Poots sets out an action plan in which he says he would work to "systematically undermine and strip away all aspects of it".

Engagement across all levels of unionism and loyalism is also high on Mr. Poots' list of priorities.

Mr. Poots says he would also launch pro-union initiatives that would include: a Unionist convention of poltical and civil unionism; a pro-union strategic think tank that would work towards building support for the union and thereby avoid a border poll.

The current Agriculture Minister also says he would set-up a pro-union foundation which would support initiatives designed to strengthen the union.

In the final section of the manifesto, Mr. Poots sets out his priorities for both the DUP as a party and his priorities for government.

In terms of priorities for the party, Mr. Poots lists implementation of his Manifesto for Reform as his number one objective.

An independent review of the DUP would also be one of Mr. Poots' priorities if elected leader and he says he would also want to see "internal DUP engagement with every Association".

Concerning his priorities for government Mr. Poots says as DUP leader he would seek to expose "republican propaganda and shameless populism".

Mr. Poots also says he will oversee the DUP's new ministerial team and develop a strategy to see the development of "DUP initiatives covering all aspects of devolved government".

The manifesto ends with a pledge to improve the effectiveness between elected DUP representatives in Stormont and Westminster.

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