Givan’s position becomes focus in wake of Poots departure

DUP fails to comment on reports party told First Minister he will have to resign

Paul Givan was appointed First Minister of Northern Ireland on Thursday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Paul Givan was appointed First Minister of Northern Ireland on Thursday. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has failed to comment on reports that Northern Ireland’s First Minister Paul Givan was told by party officers he will have to resign.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that Mr Givan, installed as First Minister only on Thursday, will remain in the position until a new party leader is in place, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Calls and messages from Bloomberg News requesting comment from the DUP and Mr Givan’s office were not immediately returned.

The development continues days of political turmoil in Northern Ireland. Edwin Poots resigned as leader of the DUP late on Thursday.

A protest against the Northern Ireland protocol was held in Co Down on Friday, with five protest parades marching towards the centre of Newtownards.

Party leader of Traditional Unionist Voice Jim Allister addressed the crowd, saying the protocol had a “wicked intent”.

He said: “What needs to be done in Stormont is the new DUP leader needs to find a backbone, and he needs to resign the First Minister. He needs to say to the British prime minister, there will be no First Minister so long as there is a protocol.”

If Mr Givan steps down, the DUP and Sinn Féin will have seven days to nominate and endorse a First and Deputy First Minister, or British secretary of state for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis may be forced to call elections.

Nominations for the DUP leadership are likely to open at the start of next week and close by the end of the week, the Belfast Telegraph cited people familiar with the plans as saying, with a new leader expected to be in place by the end of June.– Bloomberg