Edwin Poots has said he will stand down as the leader of the DUP following an internal party revolt against him. He was ratified as party leader less than three weeks ago.
Poots’s sudden departure confirms an implosion within the North’s largest unionist party following a British commitment to introduce legislation to protect the rights of speakers of Irish, Ireland’s native language.
That move, announced late last night by British Direct Ruler Brandon Lewis, eased the way for the appointment as Poots’s acolyte and constituency colleague, Paul Givan, as First Minister.
However, it was seen by DUP hardliners as an intolerable gain by nationalists which should have been blocked by any means, including a refusal to proceed with the appointment.
Earlier today, the DUP parliamentary party sharply turned against the man they crowned leader last month, making Edwin Poots one of the shortest serving party leaders in Irish history.
It is understood that Poots’s decision to resign followed a motion of no confidence in him at a crisis meeting of DUP party officers this afternoon.
The confusion is set ot continue over the coming weeks because Paul Givan was confirmed as the North’s First Minister today even as his support base within his own party was vanishing. He now appears certain to be replaced by the new DUP party leader, whoever that may be.
Poots will remain in post as DUP leader until the party elects a successor.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson, a potential leadership contender, said earlier today: “If Edwin is no longer leader, then whoever did become leader would have the choice of the First Minister. These are all decisions we have got to make.”