Jeffrey Donaldson throws hat in the ring for DUP leadership

DUP faces first EVER leadership contest after ex-Enoch Powell aide Jeffrey Donaldson throws hat in the ring against hardline 'creationist' Edwin Poots – as ousted Arlene Foster refuses to say whom she backs Arlene Foster was brutally deposed as leader of the DUP in a coup last week Agriculture minister Edwin Poots has already thrown his hat into the ring for post Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is also now declaring that he wants to succeed Mrs Foster 

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 09:53 BST, 3 May 2021 | Updated: 10:23 BST, 3 May 2021

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The DUP is set for its first ever leadership contest after Sir Jeffrey Donaldson threw his hat into the ring to succeed Arlene Foster.

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Sir Jeffrey, the party's current Westminster leader, sent a letter to MPs and Assembly members this morning and is expected to make an official announcement later.

His entry in the race after Mrs Foster was brutally deposed means there will be no coronation of a new leader for the first time in the party's 50-year history.

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots - a creationist seen as a political hardliner who was involved in ousting Mrs Foster - announced his candidature last week.

Mrs Foster refused to say yesterday whom she will support in the battle, and also insisted she had no idea why she was forced out. 

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right with Arlene Foster) is the DUP's current Westminster leader and is expected to make an official announcement later

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right with Arlene Foster) is the DUP's current Westminster leader and is expected to make an official announcement later

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots - a creationist seen as a political hardliner who was involved in ousting Mrs Foster - announced his candidature last week

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots - a creationist seen as a political hardliner who was involved in ousting Mrs Foster - announced his candidature last week

Sir Jeffrey will be seen as the moderate candidate against Mr Poots, who also represents

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