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Edwin Poots wins contest to replace Arlene Foster as DUP leader

Edwin Poots (right) the Northern Ireland Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is followed by DUP MLA Christopher Stalford after leaving the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) headquarters in Belfast following voting in the party's leadership election - Credit: PA

Edwin Poots has been elected as the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), party chair Lord Morrow has announced.

The results follow the party’s first ever leadership contest.



The 36 members of the party’s electoral college, made up of its MPs and Stormont Assembly members, were eligible to vote in the race between Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots.

Ahead of the vote, which was open from 12pm to 4pm, politicians made final pitches for support in a virtual hustings event.

Sir Jeffrey was in confident mood as he left the party’s headquarters in east Belfast afterwards.

“Feeling good,” he told waiting reporters as he left with DUP MP and deputy leadership contender Gregory Campbell.

Poots was non-committal as he left. Asked what the mainstay of his leadership pitch was, Poots said “reform”.

Returning a short time later with fellow MLA and supporter Mervyn Storey, Poots said he was “hopeful” of emerging victorious.

Outgoing leader Arlene Foster, who was forced to quit after a party heave against her, also voted in the race.

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

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