Arlene Foster told Sky News she would step down as DUP leader and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, following calls within the party for a leadership contest.
In a statement, Ms Foster said: “It is important to leave space in the coming weeks for the party leaders to make arrangements for the election of a new leader.”
She described serving the people of Northern Ireland as “the privilege of my life”.
The outgoing Prime Minister added: “The future of trade unionism and Northern Ireland will not lie in division. It will only be found in sharing this place we are privileged to call home. “
It comes after 75% of DUP’s Northern Ireland Assembly members signed a letter demanding a leadership race.
Eight of the party’s 18 constituency associations submitted letters of concern over the leadership’s handling of the Northern Ireland Protocol and other issues.
Ms Foster played down the threat when she spoke to reporters yesterday afternoon, saying, “Stories about leadership come up every now and then, and this is one of those times.”
On Wednesday afternoon, she released a statement saying she would step down as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party on May 20 and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland at the end of June.
Ms Foster, in the six-minute statement, referred to an 18-year career in the Stormont Coven, saying how proud she was of her accomplishments.
She said: “I am the first to admit that there have been ups and downs in the last five and a half years (as party leader). The 2016 Assembly election results and our party’s best result in Westminster in 2017 stand out among the Highlights …
“Of course, with the ups, there have been downs along the way. The three years without devolution have done untold damage to our public services.
“I am proud that a young generation of Democratic trade unionists is getting involved in politics and trying to shape Northern Ireland for …
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This notice was published: 2021-04-28 14:23:00