Sir Jeffrey Donaldson officially announces he wants to replace Edwin Poots as DUP leader
It's been the worst kip secret in Northern Ireland these last few days but Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, has officially put his name forward as the person to replace Edwin Poots as leader of the DUP.
Mr. Poots was forced to stand down as leader on Friday after he ignored the overwhelming majority of DUP MPs, MLAs and Peers, who implored him not to proceed with the electing a new First Minister.
The request was not acknowledged by Mr. Poots who subsequently nominated Paul Givan, MLA, as the person to replace Arlene Foster as First Minister.
A few hours after Mr. Givan took up the position of First Minister, Mr. Poots was summoned to a lengthy meeting with top DUP party officers in party headquarters in Dundela Avenue, Belfast,
Mr. Poots emerged from the meeting after several hours and later on on Friday he officially announced he was standing down,
Mr. Poots saw off the challenge if Jeffrey Donaldson last month but now it looks like the Lagan Valley MP looks set to be the party's fourth leader in six years.
In a statement this afternoon, Mr.Donaldon officially announced his decision to stand for the leadership of the DUP a second time.
“It is with optimism for the future and recognition of the challenges facing Northern Ireland that today, I put my name forward for the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party,” he said.
Sir Jefferey also explained in his statement that if elected as leader he was channel all his energy into opposing the Northern Ireland Protocol and said he believes he has a vision that could "put the Democratic Unionist Party on the path to victory at next year’s election".
“Now, more than ever, we need to unite in the face of the threats posed to Northern Ireland by the protocol,” he said.
“Make no mistake, this is the number one issue facing our country, our people and our place within the United Kingdom.
“If elected, I will ensure that the Government doesn’t just listen, but recognises the need to take decisive action to deal quickly with the protocol.
“A failure to act will undoubtedly have consequences for the stability of our political institutions and the prosperity of our economy.
“We need to unite as a party and take heed of the challenges that Northern Ireland faces."
He added: “We need to restore confidence and faith in our party and to work with other unionists of a like mind to broaden the appeal of unionism and secure the Union for the future.
“We need to deliver tangible results for the people who have put their faith in us and that also means building bridges across our divided communities and developing what a shared future means for everyone in Northern Ireland regardless of their background or belief.
“I believe that if I am elected leader, I can help the party deliver on these issues and put the Democratic Unionist Party on the path to victory at next year’s election.”
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