Jeffrey Donaldson Will Become The New DUP Leader After Edwin Poots' Sharp Exit
Jeffrey Donaldson has become the new DUP leader (PA)
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson will become the party's new leader after standing unopposed for the position.
A vote will take place on Saturday, but as the only candidate submitted, the Lagan Valley MP will be confirmed as leader following the resignation of Edwin Poots just 21 days after he took up the post.
Poots had narrowly defeated Donaldson in last month's leadership contest but was forced to quit after his party colleagues revolted over a deal he agreed with Sinn Féin on Irish language legislation in a bid to restart the Stormont executive.
The former leader had also faced fury from colleagues after he made the deal with Sinn Féin and the Westminster government to ensure Paul Givan would become Northern Ireland's first minister.
Donaldson – the party's longest serving MP – was unopposed on Tuesday after no other candidates put themselves forward to stand against him.
The new DUP leader, who is seen as a more moderate figure within the party, had already said the "number one issue" facing the country was problems with the post-Brexit trade arrangements, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.Speaking ahead of his election, he had warned the "stability" of the power-sharing agreement in the country would be at threat unless the UK takes "decisive action" to fix problems with the protocol.
"Make no mistake, this is the number one issue facing our country, our people and our place within the United Kingdom," he said.
"If elected, I will ensure that the government doesn't just listen, but recognises the need to take decisive action to deal quickly with the protocol.
"A failure to act will undoubtedly have consequences for the stability of our political institutions and the prosperity of our economy."
He said he wanted to "deliver tangible results for the people who have put their faith in us".
He added: "That also means building bridges across our divided communities and developing what a shared future means for everyone in Northern Ireland regardless of their background or belief."
First Minister Paul Givan, a close ally of Poots, had also given Donaldson his "full support" ahead of the election, despite reports the DUP MP is likely to force him to step down from the post.
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