Northern Ireland

Edwin Poots: PM leads reaction to DUP leadership election

image captionEdwin Poots was elected DUP leader by 19 votes to 17, beating MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Edwin Poots has been elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), beating MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson by 19 votes to 17.

MLA Paula Bradley has been elected as the party’s deputy leader, beating MP Gregory Campbell.

They are now set to lead the DUP into next years’ election for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Other political stakeholders from across the UK and Ireland have been reacting to their victory.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson tweeted his congratulations to the newly elected DUP leader.

The prime minister said “people across the UK are best served when we work together” and that he “looked forward to working with Mr Poots”.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Colum Eastwood, SDLP leader

SDLP leader and MP for Foyle Colum Eastwood has tweeted his congratulations to Mr Poots.

He said it was “time now for everyone to recommit to working together”.

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin leader

In a statement, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald wished Mr Poots well and said he faced “a new political landscape in the north, across the island and indeed between our two islands”.

“Change is happening and we need to prepare for it,” she said.

image copyrightPAcemaker
image captionSinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Poots faces a “new political landscape” in Northern Ireland

“Sinn Féin wants power sharing to work and we are strongly committed to making our political institutions work so that we can create a better, fairer and more equal society for all.”

Naomi Long, Alliance leader

The leader of Alliance and Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long has shared her congratulations for the DUP’s new leadership team and said there were “huge challenges ahead as an Executive”.

She said the success “will depend on our willingness to work together constructively for the common good”.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mrs Long also retweeted her party colleague Peter McReynolds, a councillor in East Belfast, who wrote: “Congratulations to the new leader of the DUP, Edwin Poots. But he must never, ever forget that his first role will always be as a husband and father.”

His comments referred to a statement made by Mr Poots after the election of Arlene Foster as party leader in 2016, when he referred to her “most important job” being that of “wife, mother, and daughter”.

Steve Aiken, Ulster Unionist leader

Outgoing Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken has also issued his congratulations to Edwin Poots and Paula Bradley.

“There remain big challenges ahead for all of the people of Northern Ireland as we chart a way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and try to deal with the growing impact of the divisive Northern Ireland Protocol,” he said.

However, Mr Aiken also stated Mr Poots’ “fingerprints are all over the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

image captionSteve Aiken is also set to be replaced as the leader of the Ulster Unionist party

He asked the new DUP leader to state why his party endorsed legislation put forward by Boris Johnson which created elements of the Irish Sea border.

“If the new DUP leader wishes to present the image of a ‘new’ approach, he owes us all an explanation as to how his party’s squandering of their transient period of influence has resulted in the damaging position we now find ourselves in.”

Brandon Lewis, NI Secretary of State

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said he was looking forward to working to the DUP’s new leader.

He said they would be working to “address the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead for Northern Ireland”.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Earlier this month, Mr Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis agreed to hold a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in June – the first since mid 2019.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

In a statement, Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin congratulated Mr Poots on his election and said it comes “at a critical time”.

He said it is “important for us to work together to keep the peace process firmly on track and to promote prosperity on both a north/south and east/west basis”.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionTaoiseach Micheál Martin said he looks forward to working closely with Mr Poots to support the Good Friday Agreement

“I wish Edwin every success in his new role and look forward to working closely with him, and all of the parties in Northern Ireland, to support peace, stability and progress in Northern Ireland and the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Simon Coveney, Irish Foreign Minister

Responding on social media, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the election of Mr Poots.

He said he was looking forward to “to engaging and working with” the new leader, and newly-elected deputy leader Paula Bradley.


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