Political news

Poots and Bradley prepare to take top jobs as DUP gather to ratify leadership

Paul Ainsworth

THE DUP and Ulster Unionists met last night to ratify their new leaders in a change for the tops jobs in unionism.

It comes following Edwin Poots' recent victory in the party's leadership contest following the ousting of Arlene Foster and Steve Aiken stepping down as leader of the UUP.

Lagan Valley MLA and Stormont agriculture minister Edwin Poots was preparing to take the reins of the DUP alongside newly elected deputy Paula Bradley.

The Ulster Unionists met virtually to endorse Doug Beattie as leader.

Following the online gathering, Mr Beattie said his unique leadership style would help him engage with voters.

"I think I'm a little bit rough around the edges. I think people like that rough around the edges," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Poots is remaining as agriculture minister and has opted not to take on the role of first minister.

The Irish News reported yesterday that North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey has reservations about becoming first minster, despite having been tipped for the role.

Attentions will now turn to who will join Mr Poots' top team with speculation that he will announce changes as early as Tuesday.

Since his election, Mr Poots has vowed to unite unionism, stating he would be "reaching out" to other unionists on issues, including the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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Political news