Leader of Northern Ireland's DUP Poots to step down

Edwin Poots announces ministerial team

In a statement following the meeting, Mr Poots said: "I have asked the party chairman to commence an electoral process within the party to allow for a new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to be elected".

According to Ulster Unionist Party leader and member of the Legislative Assembly, Doug Beattie, "unionism deserves better" and "needs modern, confident, progressive leadership and a roadmap for recovery and renewal", because it "has been fed a diet of fear and negativity" for too long, he said.

Early on Thursday morning, a deal was reached, with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis declaring that legislation would be brought in by Westminster by October if not first introduced at Stormont.

Edwin Poots was a controversial pick for the position of DUP leader: the creationist, who believes the earth is 6,000 years old, narrowly beat Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to the position, and reports suggest Mr Donaldson is now the favourite to take over as DUP leader.

The deal was created to rectify a stalemate with Sinn Féin.

Poots had taken over as leader of the DUP after former leader Arlene Foster announced her resignation on April 28.

A perceived concession over Irish language legislation has been a bone of contention for DUP representatives.

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Following late night discussions there was agreement between the North's two main political parties with Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill to be nominated as Deputy First Minister, and Paul Givan to be confirmed as the new First Minister.

Mr Poots stood down after just 21 days in charge on Thursday evening, June 17.

He said he had been asked by the party to remain in post until his successor is elected.

Party sources told the BBC that the meeting was "robust", and said it had become clear that Mr Poots knew he had to resign.

It is likely the DUP will want a new leader installed very quickly, and that could potentially happen in the next few weeks.

DUP group leader on Derry City & Strabane District Council, Hilary McClintock, explained that people will have to put their name forward and the party will make a decision on it.

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