Poots ‘not interested’ in Westminster seat

The DUP intends to run three Lagan Valley candidates in the NI Assembly election in May, Edwin Poots has confirmed.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 8:10 am

The agriculture minister and sitting Lagan Valley MLA has also played down suggestions that he would be interested in running for Westminster if party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was elected to the Assembly.

Commenting on the prospect of the DUP increasing their Assembly representation in the constituency, from two to three seats, Mr Poots said it was possible.

First Minister Paul Givan also represents Lagan Valley.

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Edwin Poots

“We were 400 votes off winning three seats the last time, and had it not been for Mike Nesbitt’s call out for Ulster Unionists to vote for the SDLP we almost certainly would have the last seat the last time, so we’ll see how that goes,” Mr Poots told ‘The Nolan Show’ yesterday.

“But politics is an up and down business – it’s a risky business in many respects.

“You have a career where you have to reapply for your job every four or five years, therefore you are only there as long as the public wants you to be there.”

In December, Sir Jeffrey said he hoped to run for an Assembly seat in Lagan Valley.

He had hoped a government proposed change in legislation on double-jobbing would allow him to retain his Westminster seat (until the end of that mandate) if elected to the Assembly.

However, a last minute U-turn by Boris Johnson means he would be forced to leave the Commons.

Last week, Sir Jeffrey said his party had not yet finalised its Lagan Valley candidates, and added: “I have put my name forward as a candidate for Lagan Valley. I have had the privilege and the honour of representing the Lagan Valley constituency now for over 25 years and it is my intention to continue representing that fine constituency.”

When asked if he had any interest in standing for Westminster if Sir Jeffrey Donaldson wins an Assembly seat, Mr Poots said: “I haven’t particularly been interested in being an MP.

“One of the reasons that I never really wanted to be an MP was because of how it actually impinges on your family life.

“I have actually cherished over the years that I have been able to see my children every night as they grew up.”

He added: “I now have grandchildren and I want to see lots of them, and sitting over in a hotel in London on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights every week isn’t something that is widely attractive to me to be perfectly honest.”