To those who haven't been following this, an explanation 🧵-why has Poots resigned?

Poots was instrumental in deposing Arlene Foster from the leadership.

He did so because of an ongoing slow burn crisis within the DUP and to some extent within unionism...
...,not confined to but put on steroids by Brexit and the Protocol which flowed from it.

Foster and the senior leadership of the DUP are blamed by many loyalists (especially the harder line elements on which the party's support traditionally rested) for allowing the Protocol... come about and for being so closely identified with the Conservative party and especially Boris Johnson, who unceremoniously ditched the party as a means of getting a Brexit deal.

For many unionists the Protocol is an affront. They see the economic border... the Irish Sea between GB and NI as a constituitonal and political outrage, separating NI off from GB and a means of making a united Ireland more likely. These are some of the reasons both Theresa May said (and Boris Johnson used to say) that an Irish Sea Border solution..
...was something a British PM could never countenance.

But the Protocol has happened and the alternative, a land border, would have other (likely worse) consequences. But as its effects have become clear unionists' anger has grown and grown and the sense that nationalists'...
...keep having things their own way has grown with it (the irony being that it was the DUP's favoured project of Brexit which has led to many of their/unionism's travails)

So Foster is deposed. Poots comes in saying he'll listen to DUP grassroots...
...but with Foster gone there has to be a new vote to install a new First Minister/Deputy First Minister in Stormont. And Sinn Fein (entirely predictably) say the price for their participation in the exec (which has to be reaffirmed with the resignation of the FM or DFM) is...
...movement on the Irish Language Act. The details of this are byzantine but effectively it's a long standing source of tension between SF and DUP. The DUP had tried to kick in long grass.
But in an effort to ensure power sharing resumed, Brandon Lewis, the NI Sec this week said that if Stormont didn't legislate on Irish Language, Westminster would.

The DUP outraged at Westminster imposing its will on this matter wanted Poots to hold out, withhold agreement...
...on nominating a First Minister but Poots, to the surprise of many given he ran as a hardline, decided to fold and nominate- betting he could take his party with him.

It was a sensible decision in terms of keeping power sharing...
...going. It was a catastrophic one in terms of DUP politics.

But herein lies the problem. Whoever takes over from Poots (likely Jeffrey Donaldson) will not be able to accept forming an administration on the basis Poots did.
Now the new First Minister nominated by Poots, Paul Givan took If he doesn't want to resign he doesn't gave to. Byt if the new DUP leader says he wants someone else, or that he doesn't want power sharing to continue on that basis, it's very hard to see how Givan..
could continue. Then we could be looking at an election. An election where unionism would be deeply fractured and the DUP in turmoil. And an election which would be a de facto plebiscite on the protocol itself.
The problems of power sharing didn't start with Brexit. But it has (as predicted) been made yet more unstable by Brexit.

The irony of the day is that today the power sharing problem technically resolved, with Givan's installation. Now it feels it may well fall apart again.
Other option for new leader is to allow Givan to remain in place to for a while in order avoid a snap election. Again, given circumstances, a recipe for instability.
Shouldn’t forget with the excitement in Chesham and Amersham that NI is waking up this AM with the DUP in chaos and (once again) power sharing hanging by a thread. More than Lib Dem revival and NI and the settlement there is the biggest structural problem the government faces.
Have a feeling continued fall out of DUP crisis is going to dominate next week

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More from @lewis_goodall

18 Jun
NEW: If you’re waking up you’ve missed a truly sensational by election result.

Lib Dems GAIN Chesham and Amersham. It’s been Conservative since 1974. It had a Tory majority of 16000+. Now a Lib Dem maj of *8028*.

That’s a swing to the Lib Dems of 25.2%.
Result in full

Lib Dem: 56.7% (+30.4)
Conservative: 35.5% (-19.9)
Green: 3.9% (-1.6)
Lab: 1.6% (-11.2)

Loads of tactical voting- Labour vote collapses in favour of Lib Dems. But also clearly huge Tory-LD transference.
The word sensational is overused in elections but I’m struggling to think of a more staggering one than this. When I say this has been Tory since 1974 that’s because the seat was created in 1974. In one way or another, the seat has basically been Tory since universal suffrage.
Read 21 tweets
17 Jun
NEW: Edwin Poots has resigned as DUP Leader.

He assumed office 20 days ago.

Full statement from Poots.

Remember Poots was instrumental in forcing Foster out. Now he too has gone.

Much bigger than the fate of the DUP. Deep instability within power sharing. Poots’ nominee for First Minister was literally installed today.
Now what authority does Paul Givan have? Can he stay in office? And if he resigns will the executive collapse? And given Poots has been driven out effectively as a result of his decision to keep power sharing going, the possibility for his successor to maintain the Exec is slight
Read 6 tweets
17 Jun
Everyone should be following what’s happening in Northern Ireland. The crisis in unionism is in danger of becoming a meltdown.
Mr Poots was elected by the DUP 20 days ago.
Read 12 tweets
16 Jun
Starmer asks PM whether he accepts his decision to leave India off the red list contributed to the spread of Delta.

Johnson: “No. Captain Hindsight needs to adjust his retro-spectroscope.”
Pretty baseless attack. Whether you agree with it or not, Labour has been consistent in calling for a tougher borders regime.
Starmer: “The British people did their bit by following the rules and getting vaccinated. But the prime minister squandered it by letting a new variant into the country. That was not inevitable.”
Read 5 tweets
15 Jun
Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of the murder of Jo Cox. In two weeks’ time there’ll be a by-election in her old seat, the 5th parliamentary contest there in 6 years. There’s concern in Labour that declining support among British Muslims might cost them the seat. Watch tonight 👇
BBC2 2245pm (back to 2230 next week!)
Tomorrow Labour’s candidate Kim Leadbeater (Cox’s sister) will be suspending her campaign in Batley and Spen in honour of the anniversary and spending the day with her family.
Read 8 tweets
14 Jun
Move over Raheem Sterling...a certain @AndyBurnhamGM campaigning with @kimleadbeater in Batley this afternoon
Completely outplayed
Galloway signage everywhere in Batley and Spen. Delivering leaflets claiming it’s a two horse race and calling on Labour to drop out.
Read 5 tweets

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