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Stormont Agriculture minister Edwin Poots vowed to be the “authentic voice” of unionism as he was elected as the new leader the DUP. Mr Poots, who recently recovered from cancer surgery, defeated the DUP’s Westminster leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in the battle to replace Arlene Foster, who announced her resignation last month.
EDWIN POOTS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And it is an immense honor and pleasure to stand here today in this position. It's not a position that I expected to be in some weeks ago. However, things can change quite radically. And first of all, I want to say thanks to almighty God for giving me the health and strength to do this, because of my own challenges earlier this year
I want to pay particular tribute to my wife and to my family for the support that I have been, not just over the course of the last number of weeks but over the course of my over 20 years in politics. And I also want to pay particular tribute to my election team who have worked fantastically well and have been on call virtually 24 hours a day. Worked around the clock to help secure this victory.
My father was a founder member of the DUP some 50 years ago. And I joined it after the death of the Reverend Robert Bradford MP in 1981. And throughout all of that period, this party has been the authentic voice of unionism and will continue to be the authentic voice of unionism under my leadership.
The opportunities are great. We want to ensure that, for young people, there is good jobs available in Northern Ireland. Educationally, we tackle the issues where young people from more deprived backgrounds get greater opportunity. We want to increase their university places. There is so much to do.