Poots departs a DUP meeting amid a rebellion against his leadership inside the party.
In the midst of an internal party uprising over his leadership, Edwin Poots has departed a meeting of DUP party officers.
Before being driven away in a waiting car, the DUP leader just said “how are you?” to the waiting journalists.
Mr Poots refused to answer questions from the media regarding his leadership or whether he was facing a motion of no confidence at the meeting.
At 8.50 p.m., the remaining DUP party officers departed the meeting at their headquarters, all together.
As they left, they all declined to speak to the media, including top party officials such as Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Diane Dodds, Sammy Wilson, and deputy leader Paul Bradley.
On Thursday, a meeting of DUP party officers began, with the newly chosen leader facing a huge rebuke.
Senior DUP figures gathered at the party’s Belfast headquarters amid reports that Mr Poots could face a no-confidence vote.
After a huge majority of the DUP’s elected representatives opposed Mr Poots’ decision to designate a Stormont First Minister, the party appeared to be in disarray.
In a brutal internal meeting only minutes before the Northern Ireland Assembly’s procedure for nominating Stormont’s leaders began, a large majority of MLAs and MPs voted against his decision to reassemble the powersharing Executive with Sinn Fein.
Members are outraged that Mr Poots went ahead with his nomination of Paul Givan, a member of his Lagan Valley constituency, as First Minister despite Sinn Fein securing a significant concession from the UK Government to legislate for Irish language regulations at Westminster.
Sinn Fein dropped its threat not to appoint a deputy First Minister as joint head of the devolved Executive after the Government announced after midnight that it would approve the delayed bills at Westminster in the autumn if they were not moved at the Stormont Assembly in the interim.
The news came following a night of intense negotiations in Belfast between Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and DUP and Sinn Fein delegates.
Many DUP politicians had warned against the government interfering in such a delicate devolved matter. (This is a brief piece.)