Runners and Riders to be the next Finance Minister

We have all been obsessed over the last few days with who will take the First Minister post. Yet, Arlene Foster’s promotion leaves an important vacancy that will have to be filled and lets not forget we have a budget to be presented at the end of January.

As departments are cut, it is very likely whoever gets this post will only be in the job for around 5 months, but still it is an important post.

So, who are the runners and riders for the job? In no particular order;


Peter Weir-Current MLA for North Down, formerly in the UUP and currently serves as the chief whip in Stormont. He has previously served on the Finance Committee and knows Stormont inside and out. Weir has an eye for detail and could get his head around some of the technical concepts which would allow the DUP to get to the election without any major issues.

Emma Pengelly-Current MLA for South Belfast and Junior Minister in OFM/DFM. Emma served as a SPAD to Peter Robinson and is known to be a hard worker. However, with her recent elevation, it could just be too much of a jump, but she is one to key an eye on over the next few weeks.

Paul Givan-Current MLA for Lagan Valley and former Chair of the Justice Committee. Paul is seen being more on the traditional wing of the party and was known for his “Conscience Clause” proposals in response to the Ashers case. Lagan Valley where the UUP are looking to make gains from the DUP, elevating Givan could be a useful thing to do in order to help see off a potential challenge next May.

Alasdair Ross-Current MLA for East Antrim and is the current Chair of the Justice Committee. Alasdair served previously as the Assembly Private Secretary to Arlene Foster when she was DETI Minister. Regarded as little bit more of an outsider for the pick, he could still make it, if Foster was minded to pick a younger MLA.

There you have it, have I missed anyone? Who from the DUP ranks would you pick?

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  • Chris

    I would say Weir or Ross, although it is true Ross is an outsider and part of the more pragmatic, modern DUP that seems to be slowly emerging. Could see Paula Bradley in Health at some point if Hamilton gets moved back to Finance.

  • chrisjones2

    Spoiled for choice arent they

    The key issue is not ability – its who Arlene trusts to watch her back

  • murdockp

    The those with knowledge. Is there a chartered accountant amongst them?

    A basic requirement for the FD of NI one would have thought.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The DUP put a qualified science teacher in the Environment department … pretty much annoyed the scientific community.

  • Pete

    Who was that? McCausland?

  • mac tire

    “The those with knowledge. Is there a chartered accountant amongst them?

    A basic requirement for the FD of NI one would have thought.”

    Not at all. George Osborne seems to cope in his job with his Maths O Level.

  • Pete

    I thought George Osborne did A Level Maths?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I think it’s between Givan and Ross.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I keep have to explaining to people that this is not a technocracy almost as often as I have to explain that accounting and economics are not the same thing.

  • barnshee

    I think you will find the accountants are all subjected to examinations in Economics (indeed the old route used to be BSc economics QUB- then Chartered accountant exams)

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well done, got it in one.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Finance might be closer to accountancy than economics, I might be wrong in that.

  • SDLP supporter

    I don’t think it could possibly be Emma Pengelly, as the poor lady has to be suffering from altitude sickness. She would make a wonderful Snow White or a Fairy Godmother in the Christmas Panto, Got a leaflet in the post from her where she set some kind of all-comers’ record with 13 photos of herself in just four pages, including one captioned “preparing Christmas hampers for nursing homes in South Belfast”. I can think of one previous DUP candidate who could have been credibly captioned “sticking pins in voodoo dolls of nationalist voters”.

  • Granni Trixie

    This is absolute proof you are a troll.

  • Granni Trixie

    ABBGP (anybody but Given) please.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely at this point a UUP background ( Weir) is a disadvantage – the new leader will want to show willing to reach out to traditional DUP people?

  • Chris

    I could be totally wrong, but from my perspective I don’t think Arlene has the pander to the ‘traditional’ wing of the Party. Looking at what were the possible contenders for the leadership, Foster, Dodds and Wilson, none were of the Old Testament DUP. Previous appointments of such people have only proven to be a disaster (Poots, Wells and McCausland), appointing Givan would be shooting herself in the foot on the first day.

    The fact that Robinson had to choose Pengelly for Junior Minister does somewhat point to an oversupply of lobby fodder on the DUP benches, and that Robinson no longer saw it necessary to have an traditionalist in the Executive.

  • Thomas Girvan

    It is a shame Ian Paisley Jnr isn’t eligible, given his personal interest in finance.

  • bogball88

    Christ can you imagine if you had Nelson as a school teacher!!

  • Skibo

    Would that be sarcasm Thomas? I think Pengelly will get it. She may have been parachuted in but her intelligence speaks for itself.

  • Gopher

    Weir is disadvantaged by his own limitations. Basically he is the DUP equivalent of Alex Attwood (though less so) . A bad communicator, uncharasmatic, grating and in the shadow of Easton in North Down. Foster and Hamilton is we’re the bar has been set and is above Weir’s personal best.

  • Reader

    Osborne got an A in A level maths.

  • barnshee

    So did my nephew–and his basic arithmetic remains shocking

  • barnshee

    Yea the “men in white coats” like to keep up the juju to baffle the hoi polloi they don`t like it when someone arrives who can see thru the bullshit

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well that’s one interpretation that I don’t particularly agree with.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why is there a need to to even appoint a new one at this stage?

    Pengelly may as well do all the useless FMDFM stuff and earn her living Arlene should probably stay in finance and all the official OFMDFM stuff until the end of term. There’s 8 SPADs, 2 Ministers, 2 Junior minister, various Permenant secretaries and civil servants and the public perception they do next to nothing. It hasn’t been helped by the fact that O’Dowd and Foster have stepped in for considerable periods while running another department.

    Also Steven Brimstone may as well be de facto Finance minister all they need is an elected face de jure.

  • Reader

    I understand the distinction. Your nephew would possibly be better as a finance manager than as a barman.
    Actually, I would rate a bit of mathematical intuition (approximation, estimation, scaling, powers of ten) over arithmetic precision or advanced calculus for most real jobs; or real life.

  • Granni Trixie

    If judgement and integrity are related to ‘intelligence’ hers is not at all obvious.
    On what evidence are you basing your assertion?

  • Granni Trixie

    None so blind?…

  • Pete

    Do you have a source for that?

    I’m sure you are right, as I’ve seen him say in an interview that he did A Level Maths. And I presume he got an A given that he got into Oxford. I’d just be interested to see where you got the info from.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    accountancy is a superset of economics ? Don’t think so …

  • Slater

    Robbo’s replacement in east Belfast, Richard Pengelly or some other ex-top civil servant.

  • Old Mortality

    You are very much wrong. In this context, the ‘economics’ required is no more than macro-accountancy.

  • Old Mortality

    Just to provide a veneer of intellectual respectability to people who just want to learn the trade.