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Paul Givan told he will have to resign as First Minister when new DUP leader is appointed

Givan was only formally installed as the new First Minister on Thursday.

Image: PA

NORTHERN IRELAND FIRST Minister Paul Givan has been told that he will have to resign as Stormont leader when a new DUP leader is in place.

The Belfast Telegraph reports Givan was told by party officers that he will have to step down once the new party leader takes over from Edwin Poots, who resigned on Thursday.

Poots, who had been in the position just three weeks, stepped down following an internal revolt against him.

It was prompted by his decision to press ahead with reconstituting the Stormont Executive alongside Sinn Fein, despite a significant majority of his MPs and MLAs being vociferously opposed to the move.

Anger at a UK Government pledge to grant Sinn Fein a key concession on Irish language laws was behind the internal opposition to Mr Poots’ decision to nominate a First Minister to lead the administration alongside the republican party.

Givan was only formally installed as the new First Minister on Thursday. The current front runner for the DUP leadership is Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who narrowly lost to Poots in last month’s DUP leadership contest.

DUP party officers have set a date of 26 June to elect a new leader. Once the new party leader takes over and Givan resigns, Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill will also be out of office. Both parties will have just seven days to renominate to avoid the collapse of power-sharing. 

If that deadline is missed, the UK Government would be under a legal obligation to call a snap election at the Assembly.

Yesterday a group representing  loyalist paramilitary organisations called on the next DUP leader to collapse power-sharing if necessary to “stop the constant flow of concessions to Sinn Fein”.

The Loyalist Communities Council – an umbrella group representing the views of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando – also said Irish government ministers and officials are “no longer welcome in Northern Ireland”. 

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- With reporting from PA.

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