The Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson has announced his bid to become the next leader of the DUP. He is expected to be endorsed by fellow MPs, Gavin Robinson and Jim Shannon.
Speaking at his launch today he said;
“I want to thank Arlene Foster for her service to our party, people and country. She led with great courage, conviction and a big heart for Northern Ireland. I wish Arlene and her family well for the future.
Today, Northern Ireland enters its second century. I am convinced that in this new century Northern Ireland’s best days are ahead of us. We want to build a shared future for Northern Ireland where everyone, regardless of their background, has a part to play in showing the world what we are truly capable of.
Both making our full contribution, and enjoying the benefits, of being part of the United Kingdom.
Our next century will be built on the politics of persuasion.
This will need positive leadership, strategy and values.
Strong. United. Focused.
This will also require party structures capable of communicating clearly and consistently to appeal to voters; capable of working with a strong and growing team built around real partnership between representatives in our local Councils, the Assembly and at Westminster; and capable of overcoming those that seek to abolish Northern Ireland.
I will develop and swiftly implement an agreed programme of meaningful reform and clear policy direction on key challenges like the Protocol.
Our task is to not only make the case for the Union but to strengthen that Union in the years ahead.
Our previous leaders have shown that when the DUP leads, Northern Ireland moves forward. We are not only elected members of a political party, we are the custodians of the Union.
Let us take our next steps forward.
Forward to a new century.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs