Donaldson Becomes DUP Leader This Week

Jeffrey Donaldson. file photo


By Anthony Neeson

Jeffrey Donaldson will be ratified as the new leader of the DUP later this week.

At the weekend the party’s electoral college endorsed Mr. Donaldson as the DUP’s third leader in little over a month.

Donaldson received the backing of 32 of the 36 MLAs and MPs. Edwin Poots, who lasted as leader of the party for a mere three weeks after replacing Arlene Foster, did not attend the meeting.

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Speaking afterward Mr. Donaldson warned Dublin to stop “cheerleading” for the Northern Ireland protocol.

“I want to make clear to the Irish government that their cheerleading for the protocol is simply not acceptable, given the harm that it is doing to Northern Ireland, it is dragging our politics backwards,” he said.

“The Irish government and the Irish prime minister have made clear that they want to protect the peace process,” he added.

“But the Irish government has to step away from being a cheerleader for one part of the community. If the Irish government is genuine about the peace process, is genuine about protecting political stability in Northern Ireland, then they need to listen to unionist concerns.

“It’s not just London, Dublin also need to understand that if we’re going to move forward and have co-operation, if they’re intent on harming our relationship with Great Britain, they cannot expect that it will be business as usual on the North-South relationship.”

The new DUP leader also warned the British government that it is only after they “move on the protocol” that the DUP will “look at” the New Decade New Approach agreement, including the Irish language legislation.

Speaking on RTÉ, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Irish government does listen to unionists.

“I’ve known Jeffrey for quite a long time, from experience in government before and in politics more generally.

“I think what is extremely important is that we commit to work together and that we engage and there are issues that unionism has raised in respect of the protocol.”

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