Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister resigns as DUP leader

Ruben Fields
June 19, 2021

"The new DUP leader must stop the constant flow of concessions to Sinn Fein even if that means suspending the normal operation of devolution".

DUP leader Edwin Poots says he opposes the UK Government's plan to introduce an Irish language law in Northern Ireland within the coming months, if Stormont fails to act. Poots announced that he will remain the leader of the DUP until a replacement is chosen.

There has been several weeks of discontent within the DUP culminating in much dissatisfaction in the nomination by Minister Poots, of Paul Givan as First Minister this week. It is understood there were heated exchanges and a significant majority voted against the nomination going ahead in a ballot which was held after Poots and Givan had left to take part in the nomination process in the assembly chamber.

Mr Poots stood down after just 21 days in charge on Thursday evening, June 17. Her successor, Edwin Poots, is seeking to nominate his social conservative colleague Paul Givan to take over as first minister and has until Monday to secure support of other parties in the power-sharing government.

A deal was agreed with the United Kingdom government to legislate for Irish language laws, as agreed in New Decade, New Approach, if Stormont does not.

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DUP group leader on Derry City & Strabane District Council, Hilary McClintock, explained that people will have to put their name forward and the party will make a decision on it.

Party sources told the BBC that the meeting was "robust", and said it had become clear that Mr Poots knew he had to resign.

A DUP MP added on Friday night: "There has got to be an end to this interference in devolution by the Government".

She concluded by saying DUP representatives in Derry will invite the new leader and ministers to the city to the North West to "look at various issues" but didn't specify what those are.

"This has been a hard period for the party and the country, and I have conveyed to the chairman my determination to do everything I can to ensure both unionism and Northern Ireland is able to move forward to a stronger place", he added.

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