Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has introduced he’ll run for the management of the DUP.
The longstanding Lagan Valley MP mentioned he would promote a constructive technique and values if elected, with a give attention to constructing a shared future for everybody in Northern Eire.
The get together’s present Westminster chief additionally pledged significant reform inside the DUP and mentioned he would set clear coverage instructions on key challenges for unionism, corresponding to Brexit’s contentious Northern Eire Protocol.
His entry within the race to succeed the deposed Arlene Foster will imply the DUP is ready for its first-ever management contest in its 50-year historical past.
Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots introduced his candidature final week.
Sir Jeffrey introduced his management bid at fellow MP Gavin Robinson’s constituency workplace in east Belfast on Monday morning, coinciding with the date seen by many historians because the centenary of the creation of Northern Eire.
“I wish to thank Arlene Foster for her service to our get together, individuals and nation,” he mentioned.
“She led with nice braveness, conviction and an enormous coronary heart for Northern Eire. I want Arlene and her household effectively for the long run.
“Right this moment, Northern Eire enters its second century.
“I’m satisfied that on this new century, Northern Eire’s finest days are forward of us.
“We wish to construct a shared future for Northern Eire the place everybody, no matter their background, has a component to play in exhibiting the world what we’re really able to.
“Each making our full contribution, and having fun with the advantages, of being a part of the UK.”
Sir Jeffrey can be seen because the reasonable candidate in opposition to the extra hard-line Mr Poots, who additionally represents the Lagan Valley constituency, as an Meeting member.
Mrs Foster resigned final week after an inside revolt in opposition to her management.
The transfer got here within the type of a letter of no confidence signed by a majority of the get together’s senior elected representatives.
Mr Poots, understood to have been one of many key figures behind the heave in opposition to her, introduced his management bid inside 24 hours of Mrs Foster’s resignation assertion.
The outgoing DUP chief will step down from that function on 28 Might, and as Stormont First Minister on the finish of June.
A small voters, comprising simply the get together’s MLAs and MPs, will resolve the management contest.
Making his pitch for the job, Sir Jeffrey added: “Our subsequent century can be constructed on the politics of persuasion.
“It will want constructive management, technique and values. Sturdy. United. Centered.
“This will even require get together buildings able to speaking clearly and constantly to attraction to voters; able to working with a powerful and rising staff constructed round actual partnership between representatives in our native councils, the Meeting and at Westminster; and able to overcoming those who search to abolish Northern Eire.
“I’ll develop and swiftly implement an agreed programme of significant reform and clear coverage route on key challenges just like the protocol.
“Our activity is to not solely make the case for the Union however to strengthen that Union within the years forward.
“Our earlier leaders have proven that when the DUP leads, Northern Eire strikes ahead.
“We aren’t solely elected members of a political get together, we’re the custodians of the Union.
“Allow us to take our subsequent steps ahead. Ahead to a brand new century.”
On Sunday it emerged that Mr Poots wouldn’t tackle the First Minister’s job if he was elected DUP chief, as a substitute appointing an Meeting colleague to the function as he concentrates on the management.
If Sir Jeffrey gained the management and remained as an MP at Westminster, he wouldn’t give you the option take up the First Minister’s job.
Discontent on the DUP‘s Brexit technique was a significant component within the transfer in opposition to Mrs Foster, with get together rank-and-file laying among the blame for the emergence of an Irish Sea border, within the type of the protocol, at her door.
Traditionalists from the get together’s spiritual fundamentalist wing additionally harboured considerations over positions Mrs Foster has taken on some social points, specifically her choice to abstain in a latest Meeting vote on a proposed ban on homosexual conversion remedy – a proposal the vast majority of her get together colleagues opposed.