British MP Bids To Become Leader Of N.Ireland's Crisis-hit DUP

(@FahadShabbir)

British MP bids to become leader of N.Ireland's crisis-hit DUP

London, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Jun, 2021 ) :British MP Jeffrey Donaldson on Monday announced his candidacy for the leadership of Northern Ireland's unionist DUP party, after internal divisions forced the party's leader to resign amid Brexit-related tensions.

"It is with optimism for the future and recognition of the challenges facing Northern Ireland that today, I put my name forward for the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party," Donaldson said in a statement.

"I believe that if I am elected leader, I can... put the Democratic Unionist Party on the path to victory at next year's election," he added.

Donaldson had previously indicated he would give up his position as a member of parliament in Westminster if he won the nomination and potentially became head of the Northern Ireland government.

Candidates for the DUP hot seat have until noon on Tuesday to apply, and Donaldson is currently the only person in the running.

Edwin Poots, who became leader of the ultra-conservative party only three weeks ago, announced his resignation last week, the victim of an internal rebellion, similar to the one that brought down his predecessor Arlene Foster.

She was accused of having allowed customs controls to be put in place for goods coming from mainland Britain, creating an internal border.

But Poots was brought down by anger in his camp following last-minute concessions to Sinn Fein over a new power-sharing government, as provided for in the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

That deal ended the Troubles the 30-year conflict between pro-UK unionists and pro-Ireland republicans.

- Rising tension - Before being forced out, Poots appointed loyalist Paul Givan as the province's first minister, a role he assumed on Thursday, but which he will be under pressure to relinquish once the new DUP leader is elected.

Tensions have been rising in the UK province, home to around 1.9 million people.

Unionists are upset about the Northern Irish protocol negotiated as part of Brexit, which they say threatens the province's place within the UK.

Aimed at avoiding the return of a physical border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the agreement keeps the province in the European single market and customs union for goods.

The Northern Ireland protocol is the "number one issue", Donaldson said Monday, promising, if elected, to "ensure that the government doesn't just listen, but recognises the need to take decisive action.

"Now, more than ever, we need to unite in the face of the threats posed to Northern Ireland by the protocol," he said.

Givan has promised that Donaldson will have his support if he is confirmed as leader.