Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Edwin Poots is facing an insurrection from his party that may see him face a vote of no confidence as early as today.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that the party’s officers will tell Poots today that they no longer have confidence in him.
Poots, who was elected DUP leader just 20 days ago, today selected Paul Givan to be the next first minister of Northern Ireland against the express wishes of many elected officials his party.
Givan today took office with Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill as first minister and deputy first minister respectively in the latest iteration of the devolved parliament’s power sharing arrangement.
A large majority of DUP MPs and MLAs voted for Givan to not be nominated at a fiery meeting this morning.
Poots said he nominated Givan “not with a pre-condition from Sinn Féin, but with a brand of confident unionism capable of recognising wins and even recognising those things that do not do us demonstrable harm”.
The row is over the status of new cultural laws in Northern Ireland, which will include appointing a commissioner to “enhance and develop the language, arts and literature associated with the Ulster Scots / Ulster British tradition in Northern Ireland”.
The Irish language laws are heavily opposed by the DUP, with many MPs and MLAs wanting to collapse the power sharing arrangement again to stop them.
Speaking to the BBC, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “The feelings of the party were very very clear, it wasn’t a marginal vote, it was a very clear view that was expressed, namely that we should not be facilitating the undermining of the assembly and democracy in Northern Ireland.”
When asked if he had confidence in Poots, he said “my view is that any leader, if they want to have confidence, should bring people along with them, and a leader who acts without the support of even a marginal majority has to live with the consequences of that.”