Incoming DUP leader Edwin Poots vows to unite unionism

"This party has been the authentic voice of unionism and will continue to be the authentic voice of unionism under my leadership".

The current Agriculture Minister will replace Arlene Foster in the role, when she steps down later this month.

Julian Smith, who was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2019 to 2020, tweeted his congratulations to Mr Poots, adding "a tough job ahead - but one which I am sure he will do well".

The historic vote, the first ever leadership election in the party's history, took place in Belfast today.

Arlene Foster is resigning as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and handing over to a new leader next month.

Poots, seen by some commentators as more aggressive in his opposition to the trade barriers and more conservative on social issues than his opponent, narrowly beat fellow senior member Jeffrey Donaldson by 19 votes to 17 among the party's lawmakers.

Speaking briefly to the media as she left party headquarters after casting her ballot, Mrs Foster said: "I voted for the person who will bring the Democratic Unionist Party forward and I think that's very obvious".

Members will also decide on a new deputy leader, with Gregory Campbell MP, Paula Bradley MLA and Paul Frew MLA vying to succeed Nigel Dodds.

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Rustam Minnikhanov, the president of Tatarstan, also arrived at the school, according to the Kommersant business daily. Russian media said some students were able to escape the building during the attack, while others were trapped inside.

"We have work to do in our health service which is greatly challenged at this time with waiting lists which are horrendous anywhere in the United Kingdom".

"The Northern Ireland Protocol has proven to be a massive challenge for all of us and if we are to fight this to ensure that everybody in Northern Ireland is not worse off as a effect of the Protocol then it's for us to do that together".

After his narrow defeat, Sir Jeffrey said he had no regrets standing in the race.

"It's a party that my dad founded with the name democracy in it and this is a democratic decision", he said.

"And they have made their choice and I respect that and now the party must consider what that means for our way forward, what it means for the Union that we all cherish and what it means for Northern Ireland, this place that is my home, a place that I love".

That has strained relations with Irish nationalist rivals Sinn Fein, with whom it leads Northern Ireland's power-sharing government. I will be a leader in unionism that will be reaching out to other leaders in unionism.

The DUP is set to elect its next leader and deputy leader following a vote on Friday.

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