Edwin Poots Is Standing Down Just 21 Days After Becoming DUP Leader
Edwin Poots has stood down just three weeks after becoming the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP politicians turned against Poots after he reached an agreement with Sinn Fein on Irish languge legislation to prevent Stormont from collapsing.
In a statement, he 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."
He added: "This has been a difficult period for the party 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."
The party has asked him to remain in post while his successor is elected.
On Thursday afternoon Poots nominated DUP colleague Paul Givan to be Northern Ireland's First Minister, a move which effectively stopped the Executive falling apart, after striking a deal with Sinn Fein and the Westminster government on Wednesday night.
However, a large majority of the DUP's MLAs, MPs and peers opposed the move and wanted Poots to renogotiate the agreement.
A DUP source said party officers were "furious" with Poots and suggested that he was "on his way out". The party has asked him to remain in post while the new leader is elected.
"He totally by-passed the party to get his guy into the First Minister Office," they told PoliticsHome.
DUP politicians were expected to vote in a formal no confidence motion.
Stormont had been on the brink of collapse after the DUP refused to commit to passing legislation granting the Irish language equal status to English before the next set of eelctions.
Sinn Fein said they would not approve a DUP First Minister until the DUP committed to delivering the provision.
However, the two parties reached an agreement last night after hours of emergency talks with Brandon Lewis, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
They agreed that the UK government would intervene to make sure the legislation was delivered by passing it in Westminster if Stormont hadn't delivered it by the end of September.
Poots was elected to replace Arlene Foster on May 14.
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