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DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson set to make changes to his Stormont team today

The DUP has been rocked by bitter divisions played out in public in recent weeks.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson
Image: Peter Morrison via PA Images

NEW DUP LEADER Jeffrey Donaldson is expected to announce changes within his party at the Stormont Assembly later today. 

The BBC reports Donaldson has been reviewing senior positions, including ministerial posts. 

The DUP has been rocked by bitter divisions played out in public after successive revolts deposed former leader Arlene Foster and then her successor, Edwin Poots, who quit after just 21 days in the role.

A number of members of the DUP publicly resigned, including councillors Kathryn Owen and Glyn Hanna.

Poots’ demise came only weeks after he narrowly defeated Donaldson in the leadership contest to succeed Foster.

Donaldson went on to become the next leader, however his first day in the job was marred by the resignation of North Down MLA Alex Easton.

Easton, who will now sit as an independent, cited a lack of “respect, discipline or decency” within the DUP as one of the reasons he is quitting the party.

“It is with great sadness and hurt that I find myself doing one of the hardest things in my life and resigning from the DUP,” Easton said in his resignation statement.

“I have had to stand back and watch as colleagues tear themselves apart, brief against other colleagues and run to the media in order to hurt each other on a daily basis. There is no respect, discipline or decency, I have just had enough,” he said.

“This is not something that I want to be a part of as a unionist – it is not Alex Easton. No matter who people supported during the recent leadership contest, I find elements from both sides are equally to blame for recent events, and it continues.”

Donaldson has said he wants to heal the divisions within the party and will reach out to those who resigned.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster last week, he said: “We’ve come through a very difficult and bruising time for the party, there is no doubt about that, I won’t shy about that, I won’t try and put a gloss on it.

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“I should have waited and listened to Edwin’s speech, that would have been the right to do, and I apologised for not having done so.

“In the midst of the difficulties we’ve had, we’ve said and done things to each other that have been hurtful, and the first step in healing the wounds is to recognise that, acknowledge that and I have done that … the response since has been really positive.

“During the leadership contest previously, we had been on opposite sides within the party but we’re now one side, we’re now working to be a more unified party.”

Includes reporting by Press Association

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