The 55-year-old creationist quit after an emergency meeting was held at the party’s headquarters in Belfast. Although he didn’t immediately address the media, a statement was later released where Poots stated that he will remain in his post until a new leader has been elected. He added:
“This has been a difficult period for the party and the country and I have conveyed to the chairman my determination to do everything I can to ensure both unionism and Northern Ireland is able to move forward to a stronger place.”
This comes amid an internal party revolt over Poots’ decision to negotiate a deal with Sinn Fein which allowed Paul Givan, who has never been DUP leader, to become the first minister of Northern Ireland, succeeding Arlene Foster in the role. Sinn Fein had reportedly demanded a commitment from Poots over a timetable for implementing an Irish language legislation.
After Thursday’s meeting, it had reportedly become clear that Poots’ position had become untenable after allegations emerged that he failed to consult his colleagues over Givan’s nomination to become the first minister.
The DUP is expected to move quickly to appoint a successor to Poots, with many eyes now focusing on Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who challenged Poots earlier this year.
Regardless, Poots’s remarkably short period as leader of the party has naturally become fodder for memes and jokes with many trying to put into context his short spell in the role with other historical events and his own beliefs.
Edwin Poots' 20 day tenure as DUP leader in context https://t.co/87FlAVjMqx
Perhaps the most reassuring part of all this is that if you think you aren’t very good at your job or are lacking in confidence, then at least you can say you lasted longer than a leader of a political party in the UK.