(NORTHERN IRELAND) First Minister Report: Edwin Poots has resigned as leader of DUP after just 21 days in the job: It came after he agreed a deal with Sinn Féin and the Westminster government to ensure Paul Givan became Northern Ireland’s first minister #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.18: A majority of DUP members in the assembly wanted to delay the process and he faced an internal revolt at a party meeting.

NORTHERN IRELAND: DUP leader Edwin Poots resigns amid internal party revolt and earlier on Thursday, Paul Givan was nominated as the new first minister at Stormont while Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill returned as deputy first minister.

Edwin Poots
Edwin Poots left the meeting shortly after 20:00 BST on Thursday

Mr Poots, who took over from Arlene Foster in May, narrowly defeated Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in a leadership vote.

The BBC understands a motion of no confidence was mentioned but not tabled at the meeting of DUP officers.

Party sources described the meeting as “robust” and said it had become clear Mr Poots knew he had to resign.

It is thought the process to appoint his successor could move “at pace”, according to one DUP figure. 

For 21 days, Edwin Poots was living the dream, leading the party his father helped found, the party he joined as a teenager. His DNA was DUP, but nobody could have predicted how quickly the dream turned sour. He grabbed power by insisting he would be a “listening leader” for his assembly colleagues (MLAs) who had felt their voices weren’t heard during the Foster years.

But ironically, his downfall was sealed when those same MLAs were ignored by their new leader.They demanded that Edwin Poots stall the nomination of Paul Givan as first minister, but he didn’t listen. His fate was sealed and his dream was short lived. In a statement, Mr Poots said: “I have asked the Party Chairman to commence an electoral process within the Party to allow for a new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to be elected.”

The Party has asked me to remain in post until my successor is elected.”This has been a difficult 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.”Reaction as DUP leader Edwin Poots resignsDUP revolt over first minister confirmationWho is Edwin Poots?

Responding to the news, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said the DUP leadership was “a matter for that party”.Mr Poots leaves Thursday’s meeting, surrounded by mediaIn a statement they added: “Sinn Féin has worked for weeks to bring stability to the executive.”We have monumental challenges ahead that will require unity of purpose and urgency. They include tackling the totally unacceptable hospital waiting lists that have left people crucified, in pain and without hope.”

That is our focus and should remain the focus of all ministers in the executive.”‘Soap opera’The nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood tweeted that he was “sick of this soap opera”.”We’re in the middle of a pandemic, waiting lists are sky rocketing, our economy is in crisis. Maybe it’s time for some grown up politics.”Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader, Doug Beattie said the situation was “inevitable”. “It doesn`t matter who the leader of the DUP is because they will face the same critical issues which were negotiated and agreed on their watch,” he added.

The planned North South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh will now not be going ahead on Friday, the Irish government has said. “Given political developments in Northern Ireland today, tomorrow’s NSMC Plenary meeting has been postponed at the request of the northern side,” a statement read.Emma Pengelly and Prof Jon Tonge said mistakes had been made in Mr Poots’ leadershipFormer DUP MP and Arlene Foster’s special adviser Emma Little-Pengelly told BBC NI’s The View that there had been “monumental mistakes” for his leadership.She said Mr Poots had been “keen” to take the leadership and to effect change.She said it had been difficult for him but “he had no actual plan or strategy for how he was going to address issues in the party”.”

The legacy of his leadership is that the secretary of state and UK government will underwrite the Irish Language legislation and cultural package.”Prof Jon Tonge, of Liverpool University, who has written extensively about the DUP told the programme Mr Poots should have been better prepared.”We knew what was coming from Sinn Féin – they wanted New Decade New Approach to be implemented and he should have been prepared for that, squared his party off, knowing Sinn Féin would smell blood as the DUP would be petrified by an election.”That’s how he has ended up where he is now – by not bringing his party with him and those assembly members who supported him weeks ago – deserted him in droves – his position was untenable from this morning.”

Pacemaker Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were confirmed as first and deputy first ministers during a special meeting of the assembly on Thursday Mr Poots had named Mr Givan as the party’s choice to replace Mrs Foster as first minister, while Sinn Féin said Ms O’Neill would resume her post as deputy first minister.

The vast majority of DUP assembly members (MLAs) – 24 to four – voted against Mr Poots nominating Mr Givan as first minister, during a meeting ahead of the special assembly sitting.Sinn Féin had wanted commitments from the DUP over a timetable for implementing Irish language legislation, as set out in the New Decade, New Approach deal (NDNA) that restored power sharing in January 2020.

The party called on Brandon Lewis to bring in Irish language legislation via Westminster.Mr Poots had said he was committed to implementing all of the NDNA commitments, including those around Irish language, but not necessarily before the end of the current assembly mandate in May 2022.When a deal was reached in the early hours of Thursday, Mr Lewis said he was “disappointed” the Stormont executive had not brought Irish language legislation forward in the assembly.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: June.18: 2021:

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