Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

13.19 26 Jun 2021


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The Democratic Unionist Party has formally endorsed Jeffrey Donaldson as its new leader.

The 58-year-old Lagan Valley MP was the only candidate for the role.

Some 32 members of the party's electoral college backed his appointment, with just four against.

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He has become the DUP's third leader in 50 days following the resignations of Arlene Foster and Edwin Poots.

Party members turned against Mr Poots after he nominated Paul Givan to become First Minister there despite their protests.

Party members had wanted Mr Poots to hold off on putting a name forward, due to their anger over the British government agreeing to introduce an Irish Language Act in the North if Stormont failed to do so.

Mr Poots subsequently resigned from his post after just 20 days in the role.

Speaking after DUP MPs and Stormont Assembly members formally endorsed him as leader today, Mr Donaldson said he hopes to move on from the recent division within the party.

"It's been a difficult time for the party, I recognise that, but I think the decision we have made today is the first step on our journey to be a strong and united party," he said.

Mr Donaldson will become the official party leader when the DUP’s ruling executive meets to ratify his appointment next week.

He has pledged to "unite Northern Ireland and heal the divisions of the past" as leader of the party.

"I have the vision to lead a Democratic Unionist team who will inspire and command the confidence of those we are privileged to represent," he said this week.

Main image: DUP MP for Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson. Credit: PA

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