The DUP leader, Edwin Poots, has announced that Paul Givan is to replace Arlene Foster as Northern Ireland’s first minister.
Poots unveiled his new team during announcements in the Great Hall at Stormont on Tuesday. The new ministers will take up their posts next Monday.
Givan is the Lagan Valley MLA (member of the legislative assembly). He said: “There is a huge responsibility that comes with this position, particularly in serving the people of Northern Ireland.”
Poots paid tribute to Foster, thanking her for the “excellent work” she had done, and to the ministers who had been replaced. He also named Gary Middleton as junior minister, and Paul Frew as Northern Ireland’s new economy minister, who replaces Diane Dodds. Michelle McIlveen will be the new education minister, replacing Peter Weir.
Weir tweeted: “There are some great appointments but [I am] disappointed to leave education, and in the balance of appointments it is sad there is little sign of healing or reaching out.”
The ministerial roles will be designate at this stage, with the appointments post-dated to take effect from Monday.
Foster previously indicated that she would stand down when Poots named a new ministerial team. But Poots said she would remain as first minister to lead a British-Irish Council meeting in her home constituency of Fermanagh on Friday.
Poots, flanked by the new appointments and deputy party leader, Paula Bradley, began his reshuffle of Stormont posts by announcing committee chairs and vice-chairs.
Christopher Stalford was named as principal deputy speaker and vice-chair of the standards and privileges committee, Tom Buchanan as vice chair of procedures, Keith Buchanan as vice chair of the finance committee, and Gordon Lyons as vice chair of the health committee.
Poots also said David Hilditch was vice chair of the infrastructure committee and William Irwin vice chair of the audit committee. Pam Cameron was to become chair of the assembly and executive review committee.
The North Antrim MLA, Mervyn Storey, was appointed chair of the justice committee, and Jonathan Buckley takes up the role as chair of the infrastructure committee.
The DUP’s deputy leader, Bradley, was appointed chair of the communities committee and William Humphreys chair of the public accounts committee.
The new appointments follow a number of resignations that left the DUP reeling. The South Down DUP constituency association chair and councillor, Glynn Hanna, his daughter Diane Forsythe, the association member Richard McKee, and councillor Kathryn Owen, all announced their resignations this week. The latest to quit was the Upper Bann association member Roberta McNally.
In her resignation statement posed on social media, McNally referred to scenes at a party executive meeting to ratify Poots as leader last month.
She said: “Having been at the meeting myself I also witnessed senior members telling people to put their hands down to enable the vote to be open. It was clear that those of us who did put our hands up were being noted. The arrogance of some senior members at the meeting was mind blowing.
“I personally, until now, have enjoyed my time in the DUP and it was a great privilege to be elected on to the executive. I am extremely sorry to say that I informed the Upper Bann chairman of my resignation.”