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Northern Ireland: Competition to elect new DUP leader is on the razor’s edge | Political news

The Democratic Unionist Party votes to elect a new leader, with the competition between Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots on a razor’s edge.

The two candidates in the race to succeed Arlene foster feel they got just enough support from Stormont’s constituency of 36 MPs and Assembly members.

The entire leadership debate took place in secret – with party leaders effectively silencing the two men by forbidding them to do media interviews.

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Arlene Foster announces her resignation as DUP leader

Tim Cairns, the party’s former special adviser, said: “As far as the media is concerned, I think the DUP clearly missed something there.

“You are at your best any time you come up with leadership platforms and the party is in the news, the party in the papers, the press is interested.

“Now is the time to move your agenda forward and present it and it has been completely missed.”

Edwin Poots, 55, a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for 23 years, has held several ministerial portfolios and is currently Minister of Agriculture.

He represents the most ideological wing of the party and has courted controversy in the past with his views on evolution and sexuality.

Sir Jeffrey, a 24-year MP, heads the party’s parliamentary team in Westminster, where he negotiated the confidence and supply deal with the Tories.

The 57-year-old represents the more pragmatic wing of Northern Ireland’s biggest political party, but it’s more than a battle between the old and the new DUP.

    Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Edwin Poots of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) delivers a statement to the media outside Stormont Castle in Belfast
Edwin Poots

While the DUP has witnessed three coronations, it is the first time in 50 years of history that the party has assumed leadership …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-13 13:39:00