Video: Edwin Poots endorsed by high-profile DUP colleagues
A number of DUP politicians have backed Edwin Poots for the party leadership in a series of videos posted on his Twitter account this evening.
Paul Frew was announced as Mr Poots' campaign manager while fellow MLAs Paul Givan, Christopher Stalford, Mervyn Storey and Jonathan Buckley all endorsed his candidacy, as did MP Paul Girvan.
Mr Poots yesterday declared himself a candidate, saying: "I am a proud Northern Ireland man, I love its people and its place and it faces many challenging times, it’s with that in mind, I’m putting my name forward for the leadership for the Democratic Unionist Party."
It comes as one of the letters which led to the resignation of Arlene Foster was released. The letter from DUP councillors said they were concerned about the state of the party.
Calling for the departure of Mrs Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds, it stated: "We believe that the protocol needs to be overthrown. Abortion laws need to be repealed. The behaviour of Sinn Féin may not go unchallenged and we must return to the unionist and Christian values of our party."
An election could be called in the autumn if the assembly cannot agree a replacement for Mrs Foster after she steps down at the end of June.
The DUP will be asked to nominate a replacement within seven days and a vote will be held in the assembly.
If a replacement is not nominated, the Secretary of State must call an assembly election.
An election is scheduled for next year, but failure to agree a new first minister would bring this date forward.
With the assembly on its summer break, an autumn election seems most likely, if a first minister cannot be selected.
- Just one DUP backbencher declined to sign Arlene Foster no confidence letter
- None of the DUP colleagues who moved to oust me have spoken to me since, Arlene Foster says
Thank you Paul Girvan MP for endorsing my bid for the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party. pic.twitter.com/Xazz21tvdR— Edwin Poots MLA (@edwinpootsmla) April 30, 2021