DUP leader Edwin Poots asks Arlene Foster for ‘clear the air meeting’

DUP leader Edwin Poots asks Arlene Foster for ‘clear the air meeting’
Arlene Foster and her DUP colleague Edwin Poots (Niall Carson/PA)

Edwin Poots has asked Arlene Foster for a clear the air meeting following her acrimonious toppling as DUP leader.

Mr Poots was elected as Mrs Foster’s successor in a contest triggered by her resignation as party leader and Stormont First Minister.

She was forced out after an internal heave by colleagues unhappy with her leadership.

New DUP leader Edwin Poots (Niall Carson/PA)

In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Poots said his party needed to “heal” following the upheavals of recent weeks.

“I don’t think there’s a nice way of doing things like this,” he said of the revolt against Mrs Foster.

“And ultimately the party’s in a circumstance where it needs to heal and move on and that’s something which I intend to do and intend to drive forward.

“The focus has to be on the issues of the day. And unfortunately politics is a very rough and tumble business. And it may be something which affects me at some point in the future as well.”

Mr Poots said he had spoken with Mrs Foster as part of their ongoing business at Stormont Executive meetings. But he said he wanted to have a one-to-one encounter with the outgoing Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA whenever she is “able and ready”.

“Obviously I’ve been in meetings with her and spoke to her in those meetings,” he said.

“What I have offered is a one to one meeting and I hope that that will be fulfilled.

“Arlene’s pretty busy at the moment, she’s meeting the Royal family today and she has other significant meetings this week.

“Whenever she is able and ready I will welcome the opportunity to speak to her.”

Asked if it would provide an opportunity to “clear the air” between them, Mr Poots said: “Yes absolutely. We have worked with each other for the past 15 years. Her and I entered the executive in 2007 together as ministers and have worked closely on many, many issues.

“And I would hope that we can actually reflect on all of that as we look to the future.”

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