Edwin Poots resigns as DUP leader after three weeks in job

Mary Lou Mc Donald and Michelle O'Neill

N.Ireland parties agree on new First Minister, staving off fresh crisis

British Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis said on Twitter that he hopes ratification of the new first minister will take place later Thursday.

So, why has Edwin Poots resigned from the DUP - and who might replace him?

Before he was appointed leader of the DUP Poots, he was the Minister for Agriculture of Northern Ireland, which despite being part of the United Kingdom has its own government and parliament (the assembly) that deals with local affairs.

Asked why she believed Edwin Poots had to resign after just three weeks in the role, Alderman McClintock added: "It would seem that the biggest issue was that Edwin said he was going to listen to his colleagues and at the first opportunity, unfortunately, he didn't listen to them".

Sinn Fein will nominate Michelle O'Neill as deputy First Minister at Stormont after party president Mary Lou McDonald said she received a commitment from the UK Government to legislate for Irish language protections at Westminster.

Some DUP representatives were angry that Mr Poots had pressed ahead with nominating Mr Givan after Sinn Féin secured the concession from the UK Government over Irish language laws.

At a meeting on June 17 they voted overwhelming against nominating a First Minister because they wanted to Mr Poots to explain the basis of the agreement.

He narrowly defeated Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in the leadership contest, and there has been speculation that the Lagan Valley MP is now the front-runner to succeed Mr Poots.

A meeting of party officers took place on Thursday evening and afterwards, Edwin Poots said the election process for a new leader was to begin.

"The party has asked me to remain in post until my successor is elected".

Speaking in Dublin on Friday, Mr Martin said: "I think it is very important that we all work collectively on the island towards maintaining stability and calm heads and staying focussed on what is important to the people within Northern Ireland".

He becomes the shortest-serving leader in the DUP's history.

"Whoever leads the DUP is a matter for that party".

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