Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.23 17 Jun 2021


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Northern Ireland's newly-elected DUP leader Edwin Poots is to resign from his post.

It comes just a day after the British government agreed to introduce an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland, if Stormont failed to do so.

It was thought the move would have prevented the dispute from blocking the Stormont Executive from getting back up and running.

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But following a party meeting on Thursday, Mr Poots announced his resignation.

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.

"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, just 20 days into the job, had nominated Paul Givan as the North's First Minister.

But a majority of DUP representatives were against nominating someone to the role over a concession on Irish language laws.

Mr Poots resignation also follows continued tension over the Northern Ireland Protocol in relation to Brexit.

The unionist and loyalist community in the North is continuing to object to the post-Brexit arrangements around trade between the UK and Northern Ireland.

Mr Poots had said he wanted the protocol removed, as it has put "absurd barriers placed on trade with our biggest market".

While unionists have claimed that if there are not major changes, they would take their protests to Dublin.

Activist Jame Bryson earlier told Pat Kenny: "Save for there being a quite remarkable turnaround in terms of the Northern Ireland protocol in the coming weeks… I would imagine most definitely those protests will be taken south of the border, certainly following the 12th of July.

"Minds are turning to Dublin with the unionist and loyalist community at the conduct during the negotiations of Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney - especially the actions of Mr Varadkar when he went to the EU and took with him almost as an exhibit the prospect of IRA bombs.

"I do think it is fair to say… that the potential that violence would be visited by others… was used by the Irish Government [as leverage in] negotiations."

Main image: Outgoing DUP leader Edwin Poots speaks to the media about the latest updates on the Northern Ireland Protocol at Stormont buildings in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Picture by: Mark Marlow/PA Wire/PA Images

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DUP Leader Edwin Poots Edwin Poots To Resign Irish Language Act Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Protocol Paul Givan Stormont Executive

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