Controversial DUP leader Edwin Poots faces massive resignations as party implodes
Newly elected DUP leader Edwin Poots faces a string of resignations following the fallout from the ouster of former leader Arlene Foster, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
The Northern Irish publication reports that a number of DUP members, including elected officials, will leave the party next week.
Poots, an extremely controversial figure who believes Earth is 6,000 years old, was ratified as the new DUP leader in a heated private party meeting last week.
Jeffrey Donaldson, a DUP MP who unsuccessfully challenged party leadership, called the meeting “eventful” and reportedly walked out of Poots’ acceptance speech with DUP MP Diane Dodds on Thursday evening.
The news comes shortly after it emerged that the Northern Ireland Police Service was investigating allegations that an illegal loyalist group made intimidating threats to Donaldson’s campaign team during the race to the direction of the DUP.
The allegations claim that “intimidating and threatening” messages were sent to Donaldson’s campaign team earlier in May, with someone close to Donaldson receiving a message saying “you’re next.”
Other senior DUP officials have been threatened by phone or email.
“Police have received a complaint that a number of members of a political party have been threatened during a recent leadership campaign,” a PSNI spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph.
The Sunday Independent previously reported that “dark figures” within the UDA – an illegal loyalist paramilitary group – threatened DUP members to sign a letter of no confidence in former party leader Arlene Foster.
The paramilitary group reportedly warned DUP MPs that their seats would be threatened in next year’s parliamentary elections if they did not sign the letter.
Veteran DUP member Paul Bell drastically quit the party shortly after Poots was ratified as party leader, saying the party would lose “thousands of votes” due to fallout from the race. direction.
“We can’t go around the gates, the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone will vote for anyone except the DUP. It’s because, not of an election, but because of what happened before the election, “Bell told the Belfast Telegraph.
The choice of Prime Minister Poots is now crucial for the future of the DUP and the political future of Northern Ireland.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that Sinn Féin could refuse to appoint a deputy prime minister when Poots nominates Foster’s replacement, while the Nationalist Party is also considering an assembly election as early as September.
Foster, who has agreed to remain at the helm of the DUP until the end of June, also claimed she would step down on Tuesday if Poots appoints his ministerial team.
Poots’ election divided Unionist communities in Northern Ireland, resulting in a significant drop in support for the DUP, according to a Lucid Talk poll.
The poll found that support for the DUP had dropped to an all-time high of 16% just weeks after Poots won the party’s leadership race.
Support for Sinn Féin, meanwhile, jumped to 25%, paving the way for Michelle O’Neill to become Northern Ireland’s first nationalist prime minister next year.