Edwin Poots has resigned as the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, just 20 days after he took office.
Poots, who has been the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Lagan Valley in Northern Ireland since 1998, was elected as leader of the party at the end of last month following the resignation of Arlene Foster. However, controversy over his decision to nominate Paul Givan as First Minister has led to him requesting a new leadership contest.
In a statement on Thursday evening, 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.”
Mr Poots had agreed on a deal with Sinn Fein and the UK Government for Paul Givan to become Northern Ireland’s First Minister, however, a majority of DUP members in the Northern Ireland Assembly had wanted to delay the process. Mr Poots’ pushing forward with the nomination of Givan led to an internal party revolt, and subsequently, Poots is to stand down from his position.