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24/10/2021

What next for the DUP after the latest dramatic events at Stormont

Edwin Poots nominates Paul Givan as First Minister despite strong opposition from within his party

What next for the DUP after the latest dramatic events at Stormont

Paul Givan and Michelle O'Neill

Edwin Poots is in the middle of another crisis just weeks into his time as DUP leader.

It follows his decision to nominate Paul Givan as First Minister today at Stormont despite strong opposition from within his party.

Mr Givan and Michelle O'Neill of Sinn Féin were installed as First and Deputy First Ministers at a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly.

Mr Poots formally nominated Mr Givan, a Lagan Valley MLA, while Ms O'Neill was nominated by her Sinn Féin colleague Conor Murphy.

However, senior members of the DUP had urged Mr Poots to delay nominating a new First Minister following Arlene Foster's resignation due to 'serious concerns' about the British government's decision to introduce Irish language legislation.

That decision was taken following talks which ended late last night.

Mr Poots had written to the party's eight Westminster MPs and its Stormont Assembly team informing them that he would nominate Mr Givan to take up the post 'at the earliest opportunity'.

Despite the opposition from many of the DUP politicians, Mr Poots went ahead with the nomination today.

The BBC is reporting that the vast majority of DUP MLAs - 24 to four – this morning voted against Mr Poots nominating Mr Givan as First Minister at this time, during a meeting ahead of the special assembly sitting.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson later said the feeling of the party was 'very, very clear'.

"What has been done today... shouldn't have been done and the vast majority of people believe that is the case," Mr Wilson told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme.

Asked if he had confidence in Mr Poots, Mr Wilson said any leader 'should bring people along with them'.

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