Northern Ireland news

DUP MPs and MLAs meet to endorse Sir Jeffrey Donaldson's leadership

DUP leader designate Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

DUP MPs and MLAs will meet in Co Antrim today for what is expected to be a routine endorsement of new leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

The Lagan Valley MP emerged earlier this week as the only candidate to succeed Edwin Poots, who resigned as leader after only 21 days as leader.

Deputy leader Paula Bradley's role is understood to be unaffected by the change at the top of the party.

Today's meeting in the Templepatrick Hilton will be attended by the party's so-called electoral college of eight MPs and 27 MLAs.

The meeting is a constitutional procedure that must take place regardless of the number of candidates vying for the leadership.

A party spokesman said he expected the meeting to be "reasonably routine".

Mr Poots, who was among a number of disaffected DUP representatives who initiated a putsch against Arlene Foster, resigned on June 17 after his decision to nominate Paul Givan as first minister led to a internal rebellion.

Last month, the agriculture minister had narrowly defeated Sir Jeffrey in the first leadership contest in the DUP's history.

If Sir Jeffrey receives the necessary support today, the DUP executive will meet next week to ratify his leadership.

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