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?
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs