Sir Jeffrey Donaldson Steps Down As DUP Leader

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has stepped down as Leader of the DUP after being charged with allegations of a historical nature.

Mr Gavin Robinson MP has been appointed by Party Officers as the Interim Party Leader.

First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "My priority is to continue to provide the leadership the public expect and deserve, and to ensure the four-party Executive coalition delivers for the whole of our community now and in the future.

"The DUP Leader has resigned after being charged with serious offences.

"This is now a matter for the criminal justice system."

UUP leader Doug Beattie said: "The leadership of the DUP is a matter for the DUP.

"Although the circumstances are of concern and in the public interest, we are mindful that this is now a criminal investigation and it would not be proper to comment further.
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"In all matters of this nature, we must first and foremost consider all victims and what impact media and public attention will have on them.

"The Ulster Unionist Party will be making no further comment."

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "Sir Jeffrey Donaldson's departure in these very inauspicious and concerning circumstances, after he has done the damage of surrendering his party to the Protocol, has very wide ramifications for unionism.

"Like any individual he must be afforded the protection of innocent until proven guilty. It must not be forgotten there is a family at the heart of this matter.

"When the leader of unionism finds himself in this position, the damage is not limited to his party but impacts unionism as a whole. Unionism was already divided by the Donaldson Deal. This needs to be a cathartic moment for unionism. Unionism must steady itself and cut adrift the Donaldson folly of accepting an Irish Sea border and rule by EU law."

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