First runner in DUP leadership election of vintage party stock

Edwin Poots’ father Charles was one of the founding members of the DUP in the early 1970s.

First runner in DUP leadership election of vintage party stock

The first candidate to announce their bid to become the next leader of the DUP comes from vintage party stock.

Edwin Poots’ father, the late Charlie Poots, is attributed as one the founding members of the party alongside the late Ian Paisley senior in 1971.

His son followed in his footsteps, starting his political career on Lisburn City Council and was later elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998.

Funding for theatre
Actor Dan Gordan and then Culture Minister Edwin Poots (Niall Carson/PA)

His current job could be regarded as a comfortable fit for the Lisburn man who comes from a farming background, however the role became less so at times as the minister with responsibility for implementing the checks required under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

2021 has also been a challenging year for Mr Poots personally having received a diagnosis of kidney cancer, discovered by chance when he underwent surgery on a burst appendix before Christmas.

He briefly stepped aside from his ministerial portfolio in February, however was back at his desk following a successful operation by early March.

Identified as coming from the more hardline/religious fundamentalist wing of the party, Mr Poots also has a reputation of enjoying good working relationships.

He raised chuckles in the Assembly chamber earlier this month in a fond tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh when he told MLAs he empathised with how “attempts at humour could become gaffes”.

DUP MLA Edwin Poots (NI Assembly/PA)

Amid the recent rumblings of discontent against outgoing DUP leader Arlene Foster, Mr Poots made little secret of his political ambitions and has long been seen by many as the leading contender to replace her.

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