Edwin Poots' campaign manager has said that Mr Poots has the support of the majority of DUP MLAs and MPs to become the next party leader.

It follows the announcement during the week that Arlene Foster would step down from her role as DUP leader on 28 May and also as First Minister of Northern Ireland at the end of June.

She resigned after coming under pressure from party colleagues.

Paul Frew, a DUP MLA who is also acting as Mr Poots' campaign manager in his leadership bid, tweeted this morning that he can confirm that the agriculture minister "has received endorsements from a majority of the electoral college including MLA's and MP's".

In a video, Edwin Poots said it was great to hear this news, and that he would build on the support over the course of the next week.

So far, Mr Poots is the only person to put their name forward to become the next leader of the DUP.

Speaking to RTÉ News yesterday, Economy Minister Diane Dodds, who is also the vice chair of the party, said that party officers would meet to discuss the leadership contest at the start of next week

"We will set a process in train to elect a new leader and after that it will be an internal matter for the DUP," she added.

Ms Dodds would not be drawn on whether she would support Edwin Poots in his bid to become leader.

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