#AceNewsReport – June.23: Edwin Poots announced his resignation last week after an internal party revolt, leaving the DUP looking for a third leader in a matter of weeks:
NORTHERN IRELAND: DUP Leadership: Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is only candidate: Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is the only candidate to succeed Edwin Poots as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader after nominations closed at midday on Tuesday.
Sir Jeffrey’s name will go forward to the party’s electoral college, which is expected to meet on Saturday.
Anyone interested in the position had to submit their names to the party chairman Lord Morrow, backed by a proposer and a seconder.
After the meeting of the electoral college he will have to be ratified as party leader at a meeting of the DUP executive, which could take place next week.
He would become the party’s fifth leader in its 50-year history: BBC News NI looks back at the six weeks that led to Edwin Poots being elected and then resigning as leader of the DUP
In a statement issued after the nomination process closed, Sir Jeffrey said he had the “vision to unite Northern Ireland and heal the divisions of the past”.
“The task ahead is great,” he said.
“I do not underestimate the challenge but I know the overwhelming majority of people who live here want Northern Ireland to keep moving forward.”
Sir Jeffrey has previously said he would leave Westminster to run for the Stormont assembly in order to be Northern Ireland’s first minister if he became DUP leader.
Such a move would mean a by-election would take place to fill his seat in Lagan Valley.
We know that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson wants to be Northern Ireland’s first minister so that means he needs to find a seat in the Stormont assembly.He will need to get his political ducks in a row to find a path from Westminster to Belfast.The clearest way is through the co-option process, which allows a party to replace an assembly member without a by-election, although it remains to be seen which constituency he would target.
There is no sign that the two DUP MLAs in his political powerbase of Lagan Valley – Paul Givan and Edwin Poots – will be stepping down anytime soon.The only obvious vacancy coming up in the near future is in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, the political home of Arlene Foster.Lord Morrow said the past few weeks had been “difficult for the party and mistakes have been made”.
The peer added: “Now is the time to move forward in a spirit of humility and mindful that our focus must be on serving the people whom we represent.”I look forward to the challenges of rebuilding and reconnecting in the time ahead.”Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he looked forward to working with Sir Jeffrey and the Stormont executive to “deliver on the shared interests of all the people of Northern Ireland”.’
‘Decisive action’Sir Jeffrey has already outlined his priorities and has said the number one issue is the dealing with the post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, known as the protocol.
The mechanism, which was part of the UK-EU Brexit deal, keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU single market for goods, ensuring free trade across the Irish border: However, it has placed additional restrictions on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, prompting unionists to complain of there being an Irish Sea border.
On Tuesday, Sir Jeffrey said he wanted to speak to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the protocol “at the earliest opportunity”.He said he would “emphasise that it is not realistic to expect stability when every unionist representative in the devolved institutions opposes the Northern Ireland Protocol”.”The government and those who claim to be protectors of peace and stability must step up and deal with the protocol in a manner which respects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” he added: Who is the man set to be the DUP’s new leader?‘
Pacemaker Edwin Poots says there is a section of the DUP that struggled to accept he won the leadershipThe leadership vacancy arose when Mr Poots resigned after just 21 days in the position he took over from Arlene Foster.
He had defeated Sir Jeffrey in the party’s first leadership election on 14 May by 19 votes to 17.Mr Poots’ resignation came after he agreed a deal with Sinn Féin and the UK government over provisions for Irish language legislation.Sinn Féin had refused to nominate a deputy first minister unless such a commitment was made.Without nominations within seven days of Mrs Foster stepping down as first minister within the joint office, an election could have been called.A continued impasse could have led to a suspension of Stormont.A majority of DUP MPs and MLAs opposed Mr Poots’ plans to nominate Paul Givan as first minister in an internal revolt at a party meeting.Mr Poots was then summoned to a meeting of DUP officers on Thursday evening, after which he announced his resignation.Liam McBurney/PA WirePaul Givan looks set to be the shortest-serving first minister of Northern Ireland
Speaking in an interview with Sky News on Monday, he said: “There was a section in the party that struggled to accept that I won the election, that I won it democratically, I won it fairly.”That’s how things are now, that I’ve been forced into a resignation.”In terms of the support I received, it didn’t come from people that it should have and that’s just a reality that everybody knows.”Who is Sir Jeffrey Donaldson?PacemakerSir Jeffrey, born in Kilkeel, County Down, became politically active as a constituency agent for the South Down MP Enoch Powell (above, left) in the mid-1980s before working as a personal assistant to the former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader James Molyneaux.
After James Molyneaux retired as an MP in 1997, Sir Jeffrey was voted as his successor as MP for Lagan Valley, retaining the seat through six subsequent elections: He is a member of the Orange Order and also served as a corporal in the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) during the Troubles.In 2003, following long-standing opposition to the Good Friday Agreement and the leadership of David Trimble, he announced he would leave the UUP, later joining the DUP, along with Arlene Foster and Norah Beare. He was appointed to the Privy Council, a body which advises the monarchy, in 2007 and stood down as an MLA for Lagan Valley in 2010.He was awarded a knighthood in 2016 for political service.Sir Jeffrey was defeated by 19 votes to 17 in the DUP leadership election to succeed Arlene Foster in May:
#AceNewsDEsk report ……..Published: June.23: 2021:
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