DUP is united behind Jeffrey Donaldson, insists Stormont minister

ireland
Dup Is United Behind Jeffrey Donaldson, Insists Stormont Minister Dup Is United Behind Jeffrey Donaldson, Insists Stormont Minister
DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has insisted the party is united behind Jeffrey Donaldson. Photo: PA
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By Rebecca Black, PA

The DUP is united behind leader Jeffrey Donaldson, one of the party’s Stormont ministers has insisted.

Gordon Lyons was speaking on Thursday following news of the resignation of North Down councillor Wesley Irvine from the party.

Mr Irvine voiced his support for independent MLA Alex Easton who himself quit the DUP last July after Mr Donaldson had been ratified as leader.

DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has insisted the party is united behind Jeffrey Donaldson (David Young/PA) 

The party experienced a turbulent period last year, during which leader Arlene Foster quit following a mutiny. Her successor Edwin Poots was quickly replaced by Mr Donaldson following further discord.

Mr Irvine told the Belfast Telegraph he was quitting the DUP to back Mr Easton’s bid to be re-elected in North Down.

He also contended that internal divisions and a slow reaction to the Northern Ireland Protocol were harming the DUP, especially in working-class loyalist areas.

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Stormont Economy Minister Mr Lyons said the party is united.

He told media: “At different times, different members of parties will take choices about their future, we’re very clear as a party as to the importance of this election, and what it is that we need to do.”

Insisting the DUP is presenting a positive future for Northern Ireland, he said the party’s focus is “very much is on what comes next and the type of Northern Ireland that we want to create over the course of the next decade”.

“Jeffrey Donaldson has a very clear plan for Northern Ireland. He knows where it is that we need to be, and our party is united behind him in that,” he added.

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